Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cookies for the Holidays

Everyone loves cookies (like my family's favorite oatmeal cookies) and many of us like to bake and share them, so with the Holidays fast approaching the biggest question is...how far in advance can we make them and how do we store them.

So here are some great cookie making tips from some of my favorite bakers:
Dorie Greenspan in Baking From My Home To Yourshas these suggestions -
Baking: key word - PATIENCE
  • Always use a cool baking pan. If you just use the one you took out of the oven the cookies will start to ooze before they even get in the oven

  • Choose sturdy rimmed baking sheets that won't warp (she says to avoid insulated sheets as they cook slowly and you won't get the lovely golden tops we all love, other bakers opt for the insulated ones because they keep the bottoms from burning....it's a choice you have to make!)

  • Always line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat - great for cleanups and even baking

  • Don't be in too much of a rush to get them all done in 1-2 batches. Cookies need room to bake properly, so no crowding on the baking sheet and no crowding in the oven. If you are going to do 2 trays at once, remember to rotate them halfway.

Storing: if that's possible (not usually in my house)

  • Don't mix soft and crisp cookies in the same clear jar or cookie tin. Crisp cookies will absorb the moisture from the soft ones
  • Use parchment paper between layers in cookie tins

The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Bookhas these tips:

  • Use heavy guage metal cookie sheets with a dull finish
  • The air in the oven needs to circulate during baking so make sure there's at least 2" around the cookie sheets

  • They like rimless cookie sheets for better air flow

  • Cool cookies before storing them

Marcy Goldman in A Passion for Baking feels that cookies keep their flavors best stored in a cookie tin in the fridge or in a cookie jar that closes well.

Mitchell Davis in Kitchen Sense suggests cookies will keep in the for 2 days to 2 weeks, depending on the type of cookie, in a cookie tin at room temperature or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Have a Happy Holiday Season. If you have any tips to share, please email your suggestions to ruth AT 4everykitchen DOT com or leave them in the comments.

Please email me any of your kitchen questions, and if I don't have the answer, I'll certainly try find it for you.

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