Get in the Holiday Baking Mood for NFP’s Holiday Baking Contest

Making and baking cookies has been part of holiday tradition during this season for hundreds  of years. Children and adults alike join in the fun of baking cookies to eat and share with family, friends and of course the old jolly man himself. From hand rolled cookies in dozens of holiday shapes to classic thumbprint and molasses cookies- everyone has a favorite holiday cookie.

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Some of my favorite holiday baking memories will always be with my mother. As a single child, being the star in the kitchen came at a young age. I learned to mix, stir and fold-in ingredients to make my grandmother’s recipes. My maternal grandmother, a woman whom I will never have the chance to meet, was a kind and gentle soul as I am told. It’s funny to me how as I get older these memories I have from my childhood are in fact more than my little memory could have ever imagined. My mother making these recipes with me was her way of re-living her memories with her mother. I can only wish for the day I can pass on these memories, these traditions with my children as my mother did, and her mother before her.

A good cookie recipe is not a hard thing to find. Recipes are everywhere nowadays, from old-time women’s cookbooks to modern day baking books, and not to even mention the internet. If you are looking to start a new tradition with your family, or just looking for some new recipes to add to your arsenal, there are literally hundreds of thousands of options out there. To narrow down your search of cookie recipes to make, think about the making and baking procedures. Will the dough require refrigeration for hours before rolling out or slicing? Will you need a special mold, or tool to make them? Choosing cookies based on skill level, time and resources is always the first step. If I know I do not have more than an hour or so to make cookies, I will opt for a drop cookie versus a refrigerator or rolled cookie recipe. If I have a few hours, I may even consider a piped or sandwich cookie. Whatever cookie you decide to choose, make sure to follow the recipe to ensure proper mixing methods are implemented, and baking times are correct. I pull out recipes for cookies I have made dozens of times, even when I have them memorized- just in case.

Types of Cookies:

  • Drop Cookies
  • Refrigerator Cookies
  • Molded/piped Cookies
  • Rolled Cookies (For a fun cookie idea, click here.)
  • Bar cookies
  • Sandwich cookies

General Supplies Needed:

  • Good quality ingredients
  • Mixing bowl(s)
  • Liquid measuring cups
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Stand or handheld mixer
  • Wooden spoon(s)
  • Spatula(s)
  • Rolling pin
  • Piping bag and assorted tips
  • Food coloring (These are my favorite gel-colors)
  • Decorations (Jimmies, nonpareils, quins, etc.)
  • Whisk
  • Scale (if recipes are measured by weight)
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie Sheets

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Cookies make perfect hostess and holiday gifts this time of year. With craft stores readily carrying different ribbons, bags and boxes, the options for packaging are nearly endless. Here are just a few ideas for wrapping up your sweet confections to share.

Packaging for (gifting/sharing) cookies:

  • Cellophane bags
  • Parchment bags
  • Holiday tins
  • Canning jars (My favorite!)
  • Chinese takeout cartons

When making cut out and decorated cookies sometimes doing something different is fun. Be artistic and gather inspiration for different shapes, colors and decorating techniques from any variety of sources.

Gathering Inspiration:

  • Pinterest
  • Magazines
  • Textiles
  • Stores
  • Decorations

A few of my favorite resources for cookie recipes and making/baking tips:

Cookie Craft

Bakeat350

Food Network

Very Merry Cookie Party

By: Rachel Jolbert

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