Now that we've had the chance to talk about the ingredients and the tools and equipment you'll need to bake some wonderful Christmas cookies, it's time to start making some cookie dough!

Preparing your cookie dough

When baking Christmas cookies, it's great to include these two types of cookie dough: the basic sugar cookie dough recipe and the ginger cookie dough recipe. Both these recipes are for rolling out and cutting into shapes - you can try bells, trees, people, stars... whatever you can imagine!  

If you want to make a huge variety of cookies – more than 3 types of dough, I recommend allocating one day just for making the dough and chilling it in the fridge or freezer until you have the chance to gather all the goodies you’ll need to decorate. That way your kitchen won’t be a total disaster and you can keep somewhat organized.  

I tend to get overly excited when baking cookies and want to have them done already and think that most of you might feel the same way, but trust me when I ask you to add that extra day to the process by making the dough first and then baking and decorating the cookies on a separate day.  

Rolling out your cookie dough

I also like to divide the dough in half so that I’m working with a small piece - it’s easier to manage and won’t warm up too quickly, which will help you avoid having your cookie dough stick to the counters when you’re rolling it out. 

 

This dough can be made into any basic rolled out cookie for decorating. Here I fill them with jam to make one of my annual Christmas cookie favourites.  

 

 

Now for the most fun part: decorating

I like to make not only different shapes of cookies but also cookies of all sizes. They are more interesting that way and sometimes you just want to eat a tiny cookie or three of them. For the stained glass style of cookie that you see pictured here, I like to use a snowflake shape or a crimped circle. Make sure you roll the dough only 1/8 of an inch thick for these cookies - otherwise, they’ll be too thick by the time you fill them with jam and put another one on top.

If you’d like to try an easier decorating option, you can sprinkle some coarse sugar, lavender or vanilla sugars or sugar blended with lemon zest over a few different raw cookie dough shapes before baking them.  You can also replace ¼ cup of the flour from half this recipe with a ¼ cup of your favourite ground nuts and add a bit of cinnamon to make a simple linzer cookie.

If you want to get a head start on your baking, you’ll be glad to know that cookies can also be frozen in a tightly sealed plastic container until you are ready to deliver them or share them with family.

Next week:

My sugar cookie dough and ginger cookie dough recipes and more advanced decorating: creating little gingerbread houses and making gingerbread place cards for the dinner table and chocolate peppermint cookies.  

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