Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Host a Cookie Swap Party

This is the perfect time of year to plan a 'Cookie Swap Party' with your friends. Here is how it works... 
Invite a group of friends, family, colleagues or neighbors to each make big batches of one of their favorite holiday cookies. Make sure they RSVP so you know how many cookies to bake. Have each guest pre-bake a dozen cookies for each person attending to take home with them, plus an extra dozen to taste. Have your guests bring large containers for their cookies. Then gather in your kitchen to swap and sample the cache. Wrap up the afternoon or evening with wine, cheese and a chat. 

Gingerbread Boys, Girls and Reindeer
*recipe page 267 'For the Love of Food'


* Always use room temperature butter as it produces a smoother, lighter dough. 
* Beat butter and sugar together well. You can’t overdo it at this point. 
* The biggest mistake beginner bakers make is over beating cookie dough. Don’t over mix the completed dough. Simply stir with a wooden spoon until blended. 
* If the dough seems too stiff or crumbly when forming cookies, stir in a couple tablespoons of milk, a small amount at a time. 
* Preheat the oven for 10-15 minutes to reach baking temperature before beginning to bake. 
* Test your recipe by baking 2 cookies before putting a full cookie sheet in the oven. If cookies spread out too thinly, the oven temperature may be too low or you may need to stir more flour into the dough. 
* Use cool baking sheets. Hot sheets will cause fat in the dough to melt before baking, resulting in flat cookies. To cool between batches, run cold water over sheet bottoms or pop them in the freezer for a few minutes.
* Always bake cookies in center of the oven. If baked on the bottom rack you may burn the bottom before the cookie is thoroughly baked. 
* Remove cookies from sheets with a metal spatula. If cookies remain on the sheets for too long, they may harden and stick. Should this occur, put sheets back in the oven for one minute. Better yet, line cookie sheets with parchment paper that can be re-used numerous times until it darkens in color.
* Cool cookies completely in a single layer before stacking and storing. Cooling cookies on wire racks allows air to circulate around them; steam evaporates and prevents the cookies from becoming soggy.  

Till next week, Happy Baking and Bon Appétit!

Gingerbread Cookies by Sally Rae
Photo by Elizabeth Williams 

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