Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas - Cookie Baking Tips

Ready to bake?

Let's get started with some basic cookie recipe tips to help you make the best cookies ever!

Choosing Your Cookie Cutters

1. Choose a sharp edge, metal cutter

When choosing cookie cutters, make sure they have a cutting edge that is metal. This will give you a clean cut.

Plastic cookie cutters are a waste of money. They don't really cut through the dough (they sort of squash their way through the dough) so the cookies are often mis-shapen or do not separate neatly.

Stainless steel cutters are the best because they don't rust but they're impossible to find except through bakery supply houses and they are rather expensive.

Most metal cookie cutters are tin plated. They'll last a couple of seasons if you wash and dry them very carefully but they'll eventually rust out making them unsafe to use for food. It's disappointing because it's always your favorite cookie cutter that rusts out first!

The cutting edge of a metal cutter should be a little on the sharp side, although it's not sharp like a knife - just sharp enough to make a clean cut.

Copper cookie cutters are a nice, good looking alternative to the tin or stainless steel cutters. They're pretty so you can display them on your kitchen walls when they're not in use. They cost much more than the tin cutters but not nearly as much as stainless steel.

2. Simple designs work best

It's easy to be tempted by elaborate cookie cutters which often have many small components to the design but simple cutters work best.

When your cookie cutter has a large, simple overall design, the dough will easily release from the cutter. If the spaces are small (like ears on a horse or dog cutter for example) the dough often sticks in those areas yielding mis-shapen cookies.

Add design touches with frosting and other decorations rather than trying to get intricate detail from the dough.

3. Dip your cutter in flour

As you cut out your cookies, dip the cutting edge of your cutter in flour each time you cut the dough and occassionally rub the cutting ege clean with your finger to remove an minute traces of stickiness.

Never dip your cutter in sugar or powdered sugar. Both will make the dough stick to the cutter.
Tomorrow - Great recipes for cut outs!


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Check back tomorrow as we count the days till Christmas with scrumptious recipes, festive holiday tips and gifts ideas from the kitchen.

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