Friday, October 17, 2014

Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission

I am so excited to have my husband's Aunt Heather join us today for a special guest post. She has an amazing food blog, that you must check out! She is also sharing with us today baking essentials and one of her gourmet cookie recipes! Her cookies, are the best cookies, I've ever had- hands down! Enjoy!

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Hello, I'm Heather and I blog over at My Sweet Mission. Michelle asked me to do a guest post on her adorable blog about my favorite holiday baking essentials and I was excited! Here's a little about me; Two of my passions in life are baking and missions and that's how I came up with the name 'My Sweet Mission'. My love for baking and cooking started at a young age. I'm the one that always brings the dessert and people ask for my recipes. My husband and I also love missions and have gone on mission trips to the Dominican Republic and Thailand. I've done several cookie fundraisers and because of our recent move from Michigan to Florida, I just ended a 2 year baking position at Baxter's, our church's restaurant. I would have to say, gourmet cookies are my specialty. So, today I'm sharing my favorite holiday baking essentials for making gourmet cookies. I'll also share our family's favorite Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe, just in time for the holidays!

Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
These cookies are my famous Chocolate Covered PB Cookies. My family loves these delicious cookies because they taste a lot like a peanut butter cup. Mmm...they're so good!
Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
A good mixer is very important to create gourmet cookies. I've had my KitchenAid stand mixer for about 14 years now and I absolutely LOVE it! As a matter of fact, when I started using this mixer I noticed my cookies were turning out like gourmet cookies, what a difference a good mixer makes! You can also use a hand mixer to make cookies, but I prefer a stand mixer. Deals on KitchenAid Stand Mixers
Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
Beater Blade by KitchenAid:
This tool is amazing because it scrapes the bowl as the dough mixes, saving you time, effort and keeping your hands free to measure and add ingredients. Before I got my beater blade from our daughter, Chelsea I'd have to stop and scrap the dough constantly. Now, this helpful blade does the scraping for me, making me a happy baker indeed. Deals on Beater Blades by KitchenAid
Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
Pouring Shield by KitchenAid:
This is another handy tool that keeps the flour and other ingredients from jumping over the sides of the mixing bowl. A genius invention I would have to say! Deals on Pouring Shields by KitchenAid Measuring Cups and Teaspoons: Accuracy is very important when baking. So, I love to use stainless steel measuring cups, because they are sturdy and easy to measure with. Deals on Measuring Cups & Teaspoons Spatulas: Even though I love my Beater Blade and it does a great job scraping the mixing bowl, a good spatula will help you get every last bit, to make that extra cookie or two. Tip: Save a few of the mix-ins (chocolate chips, nuts...etc.) for the end of dough, so that the last cookie is as good as the first ones. Deals on Spatulas
Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
Assorted Cookie Scoopers: Having a variety of cookie scoopers is the key to perfectly shaped and proportion cookies every time. For the holidays, I recommend the smaller one (1) ounce cookie scooper, which are great for holiday cookie platters, parties and for gift giving. But, for most cookie recipes I use a two (2) ounce scooper. Deals on Assorted Cookie Scoopers
Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
AirBake Baking sheets: I love my Airbake baking sheets because they evenly distribute the heat, allowing for perfect baking and eliminating hot spots, that can cause burnt cookies. Plus their non-stick surface helps the cookies slid right off. I've had some of my airbake baking sheets for about 14 years now, they have baked a ton of cookies and still work great! Deals on AirBake Baking Sheets
Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
Cooling Racks:
I recommend cooling cookies for about 10 minutes on the baking sheets and then transferring them to cooling racks for another 15 minutes, or until completely cooled. My sugar cookie recipe makes quite a few cookies, but you can spread them out over a couple of cooling racks, if you prefer. Deals on Cooling Racks
Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
I use my Wilton Decorator Plus all the time to decorate cookies, cupcakes and other baked goods. I actually have two of these handy tools, so I can use different colored frostings or fillings at the same time. It's also great for decorating with sweet whipped cream, or injecting fillings into cupcakes. Deals on Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus Other Miscellaneous Tools & Items:
Tips for keeping your gourmet cookies fresh: After your cookies are completely cooled, store them in airtight containers or ziplock bags and keep at room temperature for a day or two. For maximum freshness, and this is what I do, freeze cookies immediately upon cooling and thaw when needed. Most cookies freeze well for 6 - 9 months. So, go ahead and start baking for holidays, if you'd like! You can also seal them individually in cellophane bags using a bar sealer and give them as gifts.
Holiday Baking Essentials by My Sweet Mission
Here's our family's favorite sugar cookie recipe. We've been making these buttery soft sugar cookies for over 30 years and everyone loves them! I made these pretty pastel sugar cookies last Christmas, in honor of our new little grand daughter, Laila that was born the end of March this year. You'll also want to check out my top 10 tips for making perfect cookies. These tips will help help you avoid some common cookie problems.

Pretty Christmas Sugar Cookies

Ingredients for the cookie dough:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour, unbleached or all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Instructions for the cookies:
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
      1. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
      2. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beat well.
      3. Add the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed until well blended.
      4. Flour your counter or cutting board. Roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick, adding a little more flour each time you flip the dough over. Dip the cookie cutters in flour each time, then cut out the shapes. Carefully put them on a baking sheet about 1" apart.
      5. Place in a preheated 350 degrees F oven and bake 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown.
      6. Cool on baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack while making the frosting.
        Ingredients for the frosting:
        • 1 pound confectioners sugar (3 3/4 cups)
        • 1/2 cup butter, slightly melted
        • 4 - 5 tablespoons milk
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • Red, blue & green food coloring (directions to make pastel colors below)
        Instructions for the frosting:
          1. In a mixing bowl combine the first 4 ingredients, mix until smooth and creamy.
          2. Separate the frosting in four (4) separate bowls.
          3. Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies.
          4. Sprinkle with the edible glitter. 
          5. Add the white Sixlet pearls to the bells and trees. 
          6. Melt some white chocolate and make the hearts, similar to how I make my milk chocolate hearts. Then place the chocolate hearts on some of the larger cookies.
          7. Leave the decorated cookies on the counter for about an hour, so the frosting can setup before you stack them between wax paper in an airtight container. 
          To make the frosting colors:
          1. Dusty Rose: Add quite a bit more red than blue food coloring and stir. 
          2. Teal: Add more blue than green food coloring and stir. 
          3. Purple: Add more red than blue food coloring and stir. 
          4. White: Leave one bowl of frosting plain.
            Additional Decorations:
            Thank you Michelle for having me on your amazing blog and to our followers thanks for reading today! I hope my holiday baking essentials & tips will assist you in creating some delicious & beautiful holiday cookies this season. These baking items also make wonderful Christmas and birthday gifts. The bakers in your life will LOVE you for it! If you'd like to receive my free recipes & tips, just follow along on any of the social medias below, or signup by email on my blog!
            Some of the links in this post are affiliate links to products that will give you great deals on holiday baking essentials for making gourmet cookies. If you make a purchase through the links I will receive a small commission. If you purchase items today ~ thank you so much and happy baking!

            44 comments:

            1. Michelle, this post was a lot of fun. Thank you so much for having me on your beautiful blog! Have a nice weekend.

              Hugs,
              Heather
              MySweetMission.net

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