Update: Congratulations to Brooke from 1 and Twenty on winning the $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!
Thanks to everyone who entered!
We’re one week into The Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies, but there’s so much more to come. You won’t want to miss the treats in store for you this week as I’m joined by Anne at From My Sweet Heart, Erin from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts and Anuradha from Baker Street. Plus you’ll want to stick around for a chance to win today’s giveaway!
With all holiday baking going on this time of year, there’s bound to be a few trials and tribulations…
Do your cookies sometimes fall just short of perfection?
Here are my Top 10 Cookie Baking Tips that’ll help you crank out cookies like a pro!
1. When a recipe says to cream the butter, they do not mean simply mix it together. Follow the recipe directions and beat well to incorporate air. Don’t skimp on the time, no matter how tempted you might be. This applies even more so to cakes.
2. To freeze: pre-measure balls of cookie dough, lay them on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, and freeze until firm. Then put in a Ziploc freezer bag. This allows you to bake as few (or as many in my case) as you’d like. Most dough will last up to three months in the freezer.
3. Chewy vs. Crispy: for chewy cookies, bake on the short end of the recommended cooking time (I even usually go under a minute). For crispy, bake longer.
4. Don’t over crowd your oven! For best results bake 1 sheet at a time and rotate the pan 180 ° halfway through the baking time. Yes, I know it’s a pain, but it is so worth it!
5. For greased cookies sheets, always use nonstick cooking spray or shortening, not butter or margarine (unless the recipe specifies butter, like for Madeleines).
6. When using nonstick baking sheets, lower the temperature by 25°F and check 2-3 minutes earlier than the recommended baking time. Cookies bake faster on nonstick sheets and tend to have a darker and crispier bottom.
7. For delicate cookies try using a silicone baking mat instead of parchment paper. They’re available in just about any size, and you can use them again and again.
8. Cool completely. This seems like a no brainer, but always cool cookies completely before putting them away. If they’re still warm, the residual heat will form condensation in your container and make your cookies soggy. NOT cool.
9. Always store cookies – crispy or chewy – in airtight containers. To make chewy cookies last longer, add a slice of white bread to the container; the moisture from the bread will help keep the cookies soft.
10. Most importantly, ALWAYS underbake! If you bake your cookies until done, they will end up overdone. Once you remove your pan from the oven, as the pan cools, the cookies continue to bake for another 1-2 minutes. This is called carryover cooking, and it will dry out your cookies every single time! For the perfect cookies, take your cookies out of the oven when you think they need just another minute.
Now for the giveaway, since I know that’s what you’re really waiting for… My Amazon wish list is completely out of control this year! It’s filled with things like the new blender I’ve been fantasizing about making smoothies with (even though I don’t actually drink smoothies), cannoli molds, and that new Mozza cookbook by Nancy Silverton. Since I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one, I’m giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Card so you can buy that new Michael Bublé CD or whatever it is you truly wish for this holiday season.
One lucky winner will receive one (1) $100.00 gift card to Amazon.com, delivered via email.
How to Enter
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post answering this question: “What’s your favorite holiday cookie?”
You can earn up to FOUR additional entries, by doing the following – leave a separate comment for each of the steps listed below.
1. Sign up for my Email or RSS feeds.
2. Follow @Threelilpiglets on Twitter.
3. Tweet this giveaway, being sure to include my Twitter handle (@Threelilpiglets). Here’s a sample tweet you could use or make up your own: I want to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card from @Threelilpiglets http://www.thethreelittlepiglets.com/2011/12/top-10-cooking-baking-tips-and-100-amazon-gift-card-giveaway/
4. Become a fan of The Three Little Piglets on Facebook.
Deadline: Friday, December 16th, 12 midnight EST.
Winners: Winners will be chosen at random using Random.org and notified by email. The winner will have 3 days to respond or a new winner will be chosen.