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Christmas Cookies

Christmas brings back a great many memories for a lot of people, including me.  I think my fondest memory is of my mother and grandmother baking in the kitchen for days before our big Christmas get together.  Now that I have children of my own, the Christmas holidays are filled with us baking cookies and treats of all kinds for gifts or just for us to enjoy.

Which Christmas cookie recipes do I enjoy making the most?  My favorite is the time tested sugar cookie of course.  What other cookie tastes so good by itself and tastes even better when topped with frosting and decorative candies. 

If you want to bake the perfect Christmas cookie, check out a few of my tips below.  These tips work for all Christmas cookie recipes as well as your other favorite cookie recipes.

1.  Chill your dough thoroughly before rolling and cutting it.

I like to mix my dough, separate it into quarters, then wrap each quarter in plastic food wrap.  I refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.  After an hour, you can remove one quarter at a time so the dough won't get too warm while rolling and cutting.

2. Use the same cookie shape for a single batch of cookies.

For example, cut out all stars for one baking sheet and all Christmas trees for another baking sheet.  This guarantees that you have the same size cookies, and therefore the cookies will have the same bake times.  If you can't have all the same shape on one baking sheet, make sure you rotate the cookies halfway through your baking time to help with even baking of your Xmas cookies.

3.  For extra crispy Christmas cookies, roll the dough directly onto a lightly greased cookie pan.

You can roll your cookie dough thinner then use your cookie cutters to cut out Christmas shapes.  Remove the dough around the cookies and you can pop them in the oven.

4.  Spray your cookie cutters lightly with a vegetable oil spray before using them.

By spraying the cookie cutters first, it keeps the cookie dough from sticking to your cookie cutter.  You can even dip them is slightly warm vegetable oil before using, but I've found the vegetable oil spray is much easier to clean up.

5.  Frost your cookies after the cookies have thoroughly cooled.

The frosting won't melt off if the cookies are cooled.  Also, let your cookies sit at room temperature for a while after decorating to allow time for frosting to set.

6.  Store decorated cookies in a single layer.

When storing your decorated Christmas cookies, it is best to store them in a single layer to keep from damaging the beautiful frosting.  If you must stack the cookies, make sure you place sheets of wax paper between the layers.  Use an airtight container for storage of your Christmas cookie.  There are many decorative Christmas tins that can serve as cookie storage tins.

7.  Package cookies correctly if mailing them.

If you're going to mail your Christmas cookies to some lucky person, pack them in airtight containers with crumpled wax paper filling in the spaces between the cookies.  Pack the airtight containers in a box and use popcorn (yes, the kind you eat but with no butter or salt) to cushion the packaged cookies.  Label your final package on the top so it won't be turned over during shipping.

Most of all, have fun baking your Christmas cookies, and remember that the holidays are for enjoying your friends and family.  Make your holidays special with your favorite Christmas cookies and a smile!