It is always a fun project to get the family together to decorate cookies. An inexpensive way to add color to them is to make your own colored sugar. It’s fun, easy to do and stores well. To make your own at home simply pour some sugar into a bowl and add a couple drops of food coloring. Mix the food coloring in well with a fork and add more as needed until you get the color you want. Let the sugar dry out (an hour or so at room temperature) before storing it in an airtight container. Make several colors and have them ready to use when you are in the mood to bake and decorate cookies.
Let’s talk about cookies today! The consistency of the cookie dough and of the baked cookie is determined by the kinds and amounts of ingredients. A chewy cookie has a high egg content, a crisp cookie has a high fat content, and a cake-like cookie has a high liquid content. If cookies run together during cooking, the ratio of fat to flour may be too high. Cookies that are too hard after baking contain too much liquid and too little fat.
When using a new recipe, bake a test cookie first to determine its characteristics. Add more flour, for example, to dough that produces cookies that spread excessively. A test cookie can also provide information about spacing cookies on the pan, how much dough each cookie needs, and how long they need to be baked.
A year ago this month I was busily baking cookies for my son’s wedding. I became quite proficient at making large batches of dough, shaping into cookies and freezing them to be baked at a later date (for fresh-baked cookies any time).
If you have an event coming up that requires a large number of home baked cookies, you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze to be baked fresh in time for the event. Dough can be shaped before freezing by arranging on cookie sheets, placing in the freezer for one hour to quick-freeze and then transferring the cookie balls to a freezer container or bag. Most cookie dough can be kept frozen for up to six months. Include baking time and temperature on the freezer label. To bake, place frozen cookies on baking sheets and bake, without thawing, as directed. A few extra minutes may need to be added to the total baking time.