Holiday Cookie Baking Made Easy

TRR cookieIf you missed Talking Rock’s Cooking Baking with Chef Richard Saldivar event, keep reading, as we’ve got some cookie baking tips and decorating ideas that will surely help you and your cookies rise to the upcoming holiday occasions:

Edible ornaments that deLIGHT

We all know that cookies don’t grow on trees, but the holidays are magical so why not go with the season and decorate the Christmas tree with edible ornaments. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, try making your cookies in the shape of Christmas lights. It’s really simple to do and your guests will love it.  Once you’ve finished decorating your cookie, just adhere a ribbon to the back of your cookie with a little icing, let it dry and hang away. Your tree might be bare before Christmas morning but at least your guests will be full of cookies and compliments.

Choosing a cookie

Just as a painter needs a quality canvas, a cookie decorator needs a proper cookie to embellish. Most decorators prefer rolled cookies, like lemon cookies or the classic gingerbread, because the dough is sturdy enough that it won’t come apart after being handled frequently and is not too dense or hard to enjoy.

Icing instructions

When deciding on the consistency of your icing, it’s always best to know what you want to accomplish first. Do you want simple color fillings? Delicate designs? Words and phrases? After you’ve established your objective, you can begin planning how thick your icing should be. (To thicken add more sugar, and to thin, add more liquid.) Although getting the right consistency for your icing can be a balancing act, once you have it down, your cookie confections will almost be too charming to chomp. Here are a few guidelines to live by when deciding on consistency:

  • Piping and Outlining: When writing, making straight curved lines or outlining areas that will later be filled in, you should use a thicker icing. It should be stiff enough that it doesn’t drop off a spoon when held upside down.
  • Flooding: A technique used for filling in larger areas, flooding requires a thinner icing that can easily spread to fill the area. Approximately the consistency of heavy cream or eggnog, the icing should be spread with the back of a spoon. Drying may take up to 24 hours.
  • Dipping: A technique where you simply dip the top of your cookie into the icing to coat. The icing for this technique should be the same consistency as flooding.
  • Glazing: When glazing, your icing should be quite thin, somewhere between half-and-half cream and a thin sour cream. It will still form into a hard shell and provide plenty of flavor, all while locking in the cookie’s moisture.

Follow the Recipe

Yes, the joy of becoming a chef is putting your own spin on recipes and thus relishing in your triumph as you look around at all the happy faces and full mouths that have just gobbled down your original creation. However, when it comes to baking, that’s never a good idea. Baking recipes are specific scientific formulas, and if you change even the slightest proportion of liquid to flour, your recipe will be doomed to fail.

Give your Cookie Dough a Chill Pill

Although you want all of your ingredients to be as close to room temperature as possible before mixing them together, to prevent lumpiness and binding issues, it is always a good idea to chill your cookie dough before baking it. This will prevent your cookies from spreading, resulting in a flat and unattractive appearance.