Cookies, cookies and more cookies.
The holidays just aren’t the same without annual cookie exchanges between friends and colleagues, whimsical gingerbread people dressed in winter finery, melt-in-your-mouth spritz, gooey macaroons and intricately decorated sugar cookies.
If you’re just beginning your holiday baking, warm-up your idle stand mixer and let CHEFS Mix help stir your creativity. This week, we’re featuring some of our favorite holiday cookie recipes plus tips for baking, decorating, gift wrapping and mailing your bite-sized masterpieces.
Today, we're sharing four family favorite cookie recipes from CHEFS employees – look for the recipes at the end of this post. But first, let's discuss how to choose the right bakeware on which to bake your cookies.
When it comes to baking cookies, you need cookie sheets or baking sheets. If yours have seen better days, cheer up. With a new set or two, you’ll be ready to bake cookies for years to come.
Different Pans, Different Purposes
A cookie sheet is a rimless, flat metal sheet designed to let hot air circulate freely around cookies for even baking and browning. You’ll find a shallow lip on one or both of the short sides for easy gripping. The long, rimless edges let baked cookies slide off onto a cooling rack or plate.
A baking sheet or jelly roll pan is a flat metal sheet with a raised rim or lip – usually ½-inch to 1 inch high – along all four sides to contain dough or batter. Often, the rim is reinforced by galvanized steel wire. The standard size is 13 inches by 18 inches (half sheet cake). Baking sheets are best used to bake bar cookies, shortbread, sponge cake, sheet cakes, pizza, focaccia and granola. Baking sheets also double as shallow roasting pans for vegetables, nuts, fish and more. Note that regular cookies may not bake evenly on a baking sheet due to the rimmed sides. If this happens, simply turn the baking sheet over and bake cookies on the pan’s bottom.
Materials and Construction
Choose heavy gauge cookie sheets and baking sheets that resist warping or twisting when heated. Shiny surfaces brown evenly. Darker surfaces bake cookies faster so be sure to reduce the oven temperature or baking time.
For convenience, buy cookie sheets or baking sheets in pairs. That way, you can alternate batches: one or two baking in the oven, one or two ready to bake.
Uncoated Cookie Sheets and Baking Sheets
Uncoated pans are affordable, durable and easy to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. Materials include aluminum, stainless steel and aluminized steel. You can usually cut directly on an uncoated pan. To prevent sticking, grease the pan per your recipe or line with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet liner. To remove baked-on grease or nonstick spray build up, scrub gently with a cleanser like Bar Keepers Friend.
Aluminized steel is a popular and widely available choice. It features an aluminum exterior for quick, even heating and a stainless steel interior for durability, non-reactive properties and easy cleaning. Uncoated aluminum pans may impart a metallic taste to food so use parchment paper or silicone baking liners when cooking acidic food.
Nonstick Cookie Sheets and Baking Sheets
Our most popular nonstick cookie sheets and baking sheets feature an aluminized steel or carbon steel exterior with an interior baking surface coated with a proprietary nonstick coating. Nonstick coatings range from silicone-based (USA Pans) to ceramic (CHEFS Essentials).
Nonstick bakeware releases baked goods easily with little or no greasing. To prevent marring the nonstick surface, use nylon or silicone utensils and spatulas to remove or slice baked goods. Check the label to see if the sheet is dishwasher-safe. Otherwise, hand wash in hot, soapy water.
Other Types of Cookies Sheets and Baking Sheets
Insulated nonstick cookie sheets have an air pocket sandwiched between two layers of heavy-gauge steel or aluminum. The air pocket insulates food from excessive heat and promotes even heating and browning. To clean, carefully hand wash the surface, rinse and wipe dry. Do not submerge in water – if the air pocket area gets wet, the metal is almost impossible to dry and may mold or rust.
Ceramic baking stones made from natural clay retain heat beautifully for even heating and browning. With repeated use, the surface seasons naturally to become nonstick. Ceramic baking stones take longer to heat and are heavier than their metal counterparts. Also, baking stones may chip or break if dropped or bumped against a sharp edge.
Cookies by the Dozen – 4 Family Favorites
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. With electric mixer, beat butter and powdered sugar. Add vanilla.
3. Combine flour, salt and nuts; stir into sugar mixture.
4. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 15 minutes until lightly browned. While hot, roll in powdered sugar.
5. Cool on rack, then roll in powdered sugar to coat. Makes about 3-1/2 dozen cookies.
Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookie Recipe from CHEFS Mix
1 cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 teaspoons water
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In large mixer bowl, combine sugar, butter and almond extract. Beat at medium speed until creamy (2 to 3 minutes). Reduce speed to low; add flour. Beat until well mixed (2 to 3 minutes). Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. With thumb, make indentation in center of each cookie (edges may crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about ¼ teaspoon of jam.
4. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl with wire whisk, stir together all glaze ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Makes 3-1/2 dozen cookies.
Applesauce Oatmeal Cookie Recipe from CHEFS Mix
½ cup fat (unsalted butter or shortening)
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup white granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup applesauce
1-1/2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins, cranberries or other dried fruit
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Cream together fat, sugars, egg, vanilla and applesauce until smooth.
3. Sift together dry ingredients: flour, soda, salt and spices. Fold into batter. Stir in oatmeal and raisins.
4. Drop by teaspoonful onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Store cooled cookies in airtight container. Makes about 3-1/2 dozen cookies.
2/3 cup all purpose flour
5-1/2 cups (14-ounce bag) flaked coconut
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet liners. Lightly grease parchment paper.
2. In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, coconut and salt. Add vanilla to sweetened condensed milk and stir to blend. Pour milk and vanilla over coconut mixture and use your hands to mix. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
3. Use your hands or an ice cream scoop to make golf ball-sized mounds of dough. Place on prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with your fingertips.
4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire rack. Makes 12 large cookies
Categories: Food & Recipes