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Who doesn’t love eating Christmas cookies? I sure do, but when you want to make special ones with decorative stencils and icing, it can be time consuming. Our cookie baking, decorating, and storage hacks can make your life easier this holiday season because decorating cookies should be fun, not a burden.
With the cost of groceries on the rise, you may not want to bake at all. No worries, though, because we have details on where to find the cheapest price for butter, as well as coupons for flour, eggs, and sugar. The good news is that most cookies use the same basic ingredients, so stock up on the essentials and get to baking.
Need more money-saving baking tips? Read about how to lower your Christmas cookie costs with our comparison of baking staples at five grocery stories.
1. Turn any cake mix into cookie dough with two eggs and 1/2 cup oil.
Use cake mix when the mood for cookies strikes. It’s also a good way to use all of those boxes of cake mix in your cabinet. Here’s how to make cookies from boxed cake mix:
- Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in a bowl.
- Use a small ice cream scoop to form balls, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 4 – 10 minutes.
Red velvet cake mix would be ideal here, but if you only have vanilla or white mix, add sprinkles to the mix to add some color.
2. Sprinkle powdered sugar over a doily or paper snowflake.
Now that you’ve used cake mix to bake cookies, decorate them with ease and style. Paper snowflakes are making a comeback, just in time to be used for your cookies. You can also use the outer edge of a paper doily for an easy design solution. Use a sieve or fine strainer to sprinkle the powdered sugar. For best results, decorate just before serving.
3. Add gingham print to cookies using Wilton’s Color Mist and a DIY cardstock stencil.
Gingham print is a checkered square pattern often composed of two or three colors. Use your choice of Wilton Color Mist spray and a DIY stencil made from cardstock.
To make the stencil, cut lines in any color cardstock with an X-Acto knife and a ruler. Cut two to three stencils for each color used.
Be sure to cover your workstation well and press the stencil firmly on the cookie to prevent color leakage.
4. Run granulated sugar through a blender or food processor to get confectioners’ sugar.
If you run out of powdered sugar, just add one cup of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of cornstarch to a blender or food processor. Use the pulse setting until a powder forms.
5. Freeze homemade cookie dough in individual servings for easy baking later.
Professional cooks use this baking hack quite often for catering events, but it’s also useful for families when they’re in the mood for cookies. Once your dough is completely mixed, scoop balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes to harden. Remove the pan and store the balls in a freezer zip-top bag. Be sure to label and date the bag, then add baking instructions. Cookie dough lasts two months in the freezer, so don’t forget that date.
This tip is also great as holiday baking prep so you’re not overwhelmed when passing out edible gifts.
6. Or roll cookie dough into balls and place in an egg carton.
An alternative to the freezer bags is using an egg carton. Line the carton with plastic wrap and tightly tuck the dough in wrap before sticking in the freezer.
Related: Genius Baking Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier
7. Dip cookie cutters in flour first before cutting dough to help cookies retain their shape.
Dipping cookie cutters into a bit of flour prevents them from sticking to the dough. When you’re baking cookies, the perfect cutout is the goal (in addition to the taste). Sprinkle flour on your cutting board or countertop and shake off any excess flour before pressing the cutter.
8. Melt chocolate for decorating in a slow cooker.
Add enough hot water to your slow cooker to reach about halfway up the sides of mason jars, then turn your Crock-Pot on high. Don’t get any water inside the jars — water will cause your melted chocolate to seize and thicken.
Leave your slow cooker uncovered, then after about 30 minutes, stir the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, reduce your cooker’s heat to low. Dip cookies in the chocolate or use it to drizzle over treats.
9. Put an extra cookie sheet on the top rack while cookies bake to help retain their shape.
The top cookie sheet will protect your cookies from the most intense heat that rises to the top of the oven. For best results, use a reusable silicone baking mat for evenly golden cookies every time.
10. Freeze cookie dough before baking for perfectly soft, thick cookies.
Most cookie doughs bake better after a bit of a cool down so it doesn’t spread once it hits the heat. Refrigerate or freeze cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before baking. You may need to increase baking time by a minute or two, but the result is a chewier and richer texture.
11. Use an infant syringe to ice cookies.
Have a batch of cookies to decorate but don’t have enough decorating tools? Use an infant syringe (like one that comes with liquid medication) to add fine details to your confections. For best results, use a thinner icing.
12. Keep cookies fresh by storing a slice of bread in an airtight container with them.
If you like soft cookies, this baking hack is for you. Add a slice of bread to a storage bag to keep cookies soft. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread. Use this same trick if you have cookies in a jar or Tupperware container.