Nothing says the holidays like cookies, cakes, pies and other baked goods. Use these 10 tips to make the best out of your holiday sweets and avoid any baking mishaps.


Use these 10 tips to make the best out of your holiday treats.

Be prepared. Before you begin baking, familiarize yourself with the recipe, its ingredients and terminology. Read through the recipe several times and assemble the necessary ingredients and equipment in your baking area.

Measure up. Baking is a science. The more accurate your ingredient measurements, the better your end product. Sift or stir dry ingredients prior to measuring and then carefully spoon into the correct sized measuring cup, leveling off with a straight edge. Measure liquids in a clear measuring cup placed on a level surface. Bend over to read the amount at eye level.

No substitutions. Do not use spreads, such as margarine or shortening or part-butter products, to replace butter in a recipe. Spreads contain less fat and more water than butter and will not perform the same.

Avoid sticky issues. Keep cookies from sticking to baking sheets by simply covering sheets with a layer of parchment paper or by greasing the sheets using a piece of paper towel rubbed with butter.

Embrace the chill. For best cookie baking results, keep your dough chilled in between baking batches of cookies. For cut-out cookies, only work with one small piece of dough at a time; keep remaining dough refrigerated.

The right roll. For easy rolling and clean up, roll cookie dough between two layers of lightly floured parchment or wax paper. Cookie dough will roll evenly and remove easily, without sticking to the rolling pin or counter.

Quick to cool. Cookies turn out best when the dough is placed onto cool cookie sheets (heat causes the cookies to spread immediately and too much). Accelerate the cooling process by running tepid water over the back of your baking sheets.

Well-defined lines. For crisp-looking, well-defined holiday cookie shapes, place cut-outs on a cookie sheet and refrigerate before baking.

Perfect timing. Watch cookies carefully during baking and remove when they begin to turn light brown around the edges. Remember, cookies continue to bake from the heat of the cookie sheet after they are removed from the oven.

Safe storage. Store soft cookies, such as drop cookies, in a container with a tight lid, and crisp cookies, such as Florentines, in a container with a loose lid.

To contact this Lake Sun reporter, call (573) 346-2132 or e-mail deanna.wheeler@lakesunonline.com.