There is so much to do during the holidays. But you can get a start on your holiday baking well ahead of time.
There is so much to do for Christmas and the holiday season in general, and baking is one of those big time-sucking things to do.
Of course you don’t have to bake your own Christmas cookies and foods, but it is so nice to have freshly made cookies and Christmas goodies to eat in your home at Christmas time.
But baking takes a lot of time, and with the rush of everything else you have to do, how can you keep on top of all that baking? Prepping ahead of time is the answer!
Cookie dough is especially one of those things that can be easily and effectively stored and frozen ahead of time, ready to be used whenever you want freshly baked cookies for your family and friends.
Most Christmas cookies can be made ahead of time and stored in airtight containers. Wedge some waxed or parchment paper in between layers to stop the cookies sticking to each other. Most cookies can be made up to a week ahead of when being eaten.
Or you can keep cookie dough frozen or refrigerated all ready to be used when you need it. All you have to do is fire up your oven and bake those cookies!
You can either eat the cookies straight from the oven, or decorate them as you want – with icing, frosting, sprinkles and whatever you use to make your Christmas cookies festive and beautiful.
Here are two recipes for basic cookie dough that can be used for all your Christmas cookies, and even used immediately or made and stored ahead of time. One is a traditional sugar cookie dough, the other is a lovely buttery cookie dough.
Basic Sugar Cookie Dough
This is a basic recipe for traditional sugar cookie dough. It can be used for all different cookies for your holiday baking needs. This dough may be frozen for up to 3 months, so you can keep it on hand.
2 3/4 cups All Purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, softened (not melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
In another, larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until it forms a smooth and fluffy paste. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Blend in all the dry ingredients from the other bowl, gradually. Roll the dough into balls of about a teaspoon in size.
If you are baking the cookies straight away, use the dough immediately. Otherwise place into plastic ziplock bags and store in your freezer. Thaw frozen balls at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before using.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (190c). Place cookie balls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Let them stand for a couple of minutes after removing from the oven on the cookie sheets, before removing them.
Basic Buttery Holiday Cookie Dough
This is a basic recipe for a lovely buttery holiday cookie dough. It can be used as the basis for a lot of different cookies that you make.
This dough can be frozen for up to 3 months, which makes it a great cookie dough to keep on hand for when your family wants some holiday cookies!
Making this ahead of time means you will always have a supply of holiday cookies on hand.
2 cups butter, softened (not melted)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 cups All-Purpose flour
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, until it is flight and fluffy. Beat in the condensed milk and the vanilla extract.
Mix the flour and salt together in another bowl, and gradually combine the flour/salt mixture with the other ingredients. Make sure the entire mixture is mixed together very well.
Divide the dough into 5 portions, of about 1 cup each. Shape each portion into a roll measuring about 10 inches. Wrap each portion individually in plastic wrap or in a plastic ziplock bag.
If you are using the mixture immediately just place inside the refrigerator for an hour to bring it to a consistency good to work with. Or you can freeze the mixture.
Each portion will make about 40 cookies.
To use the frozen dough, thaw it out overnight in the refrigerator, and then bake the next day.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the roll of dough into 1/4″ slices. Place onto an un-greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches or so apart.
Bake for 7-9 minutes until the cookies are slightly browned.
You can also roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to make whatever shape cookies that you require (thaw first).
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There is so much to do during the holidays. But you can get a start on your holiday baking and make great cookies and foods ahead of time.