Frugal Holiday Baking and Recipes
Holiday Treats Made Simple
Make-Ahead Recipes to Freeze for the Holidays
If you're looking ahead to the holiday season and wondering how you're going to get all your baking done, consider freezing your cookie dough or fresh baked cookies ahead of time. When the holidays get closer, you can get that last bit of shopping done or last present made instead of spending all your time in the kitchen.
Freezing Cookie Dough
Cookie dough will freeze well for 4 to 6 weeks. Rolls of dough should be sealed tightly in plastic wrap (chill in refrigerator first before freezing). Other kinds of dough should be stored in airtight containers. Drop cookies (unbaked) may be frozen on cookie sheets and transferred to freezer bags. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.
Don't try to freeze soft meringue-type cookie dough. Chocolate chip, brownies, peanut butter, and sugar cookie dough (or anything similar) freezes well. Let the dough defrost in the refrigerator (about 2-3 hours). Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookie dough.
Freezing Baked Cookies
Almost any baked cookie freezes well. Let cookies completely cool before freezing. Wrap cookies individually in plastic wrap then store them in a resealable freezer bag or storage tin (coffee cans or holiday tins work great). You can also just layer the cookies between layers of waxed paper in the container, but the individually wrapped ones will store longer. Freeze frosted cookies uncovered first until they are firm. Then pack them in an airtight container lined with plastic wrap or foil. Make sure to label the container with the date and type of cookies. Unfrosted cookies can be frozen up to 6-12 months (frosted, about 3 months). Frozen cookies thaw in about 10 minutes at room temperature (if you can wait that long). If cookies should be crisp when thawed, remove them from the container before thawing.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Add molasses, stirring well. Refrigerate dough for an hour or two to chill. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in a little sugar and place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Refrigerate dough for an hour or two to chill. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Peanut Butter Crackles
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix together butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and press chocolate kisses firmly into cookie.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of five. For recipes, cleaning tips, gardening, frugal living, holiday hints, and more, visit her site and sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.creativehomemaking.com
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