It’s finally December, which means putting up the decorations, shopping for Christmas day and indulging in festive treats.
And, if you’re a sweet tooth you probably love cookies.
These biscuit-y snacks, studded with chocolate chips, should be set out on the mantelpiece with a glass of milk (or sherry) for Father Christmas.
Or, you could pop them on a hot chocolate charcuterie board and tuck in with the kids.
But, if you want to make the ultimate, tastiest cookies ever you may need a hand – no more box kits!
What are your favourite Christmas bakes? Let us know in the comments…
The Daily Star spoke to top chefs to find out where we’re going wrong when baking cookies and their top tips for making them out-of-this-world.
Mistakes you make when baking cookies:
Chef Dominic Taylor, from Chef Dom Taylor Kitchen, said: “Over working the dough can result in a dry, hard cookie.
“The dough doesn't need kneading. Just combine the mixture and bring together gently”
He continued: “Ensure you don't skip the 'chill your dough' step in your recipe. This is important
“Additionally, don’t bake them too long or on a too high heat.
“They should be still soft when they come out the oven and not take on too much colour”
The Chef also advised making sure there’s space between the biscuits on your baking tray.
Dom said: “Many cookie doughs increase in size when baked.
“So it is important to leave enough room.
“Equally, opening the oven door too much can have a negative effect on your cookies
“And, the oven temperature varies on different shelves – so ensure you are aware of hot spots and cooler spots.”
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Finally, Chef Dom recommends you make sure your bicarbonate soda, baking powder and self raising flour are in date.
He explained: “Raising agents can become less active over time.”
Top tips for the best cookies ever:
Chef Dom said: “Always use good quality or the best possible ingredients – free range or organic eggs are always best for baking. The freshest possible, used at room temperature.
“A pinch of good quality sea salt goes a long way and will enhance the flavour.”
He continued: “A good coated baking sheet is also advised. Or greaseproof paper to line the tray.
“Cooling well and quickly is advisable… on a wire rack if possible
“Softened butter works best for baking unless the recipe states otherwise.”
Chef Dom added: "Cookie dough freezes very well. So you can have some in the freezer ready to shape and bake as needed.
"A quick easy treat."
Freezing cookies is also a great way to stop them from spreading too far in the oven – if you freeze before you bake they'll keep their shape well.
Want to add some extra flavour to your cookies?
Try jazzing them up with some extra ingredients like candied stem ginger and lemon, peanut butter and cranberries or tiny chunks of caramel fudge.
You could even try a dash of cinnamon with maple syrup royal icing on top!
Or, go totally festive with allspice and little pieces of mincemeat (the mince pie filling, not actual meat)!
Want to top your cookies with snowy icing for that perfect Christmas look?
The perfect icing:
Founder of London bakery chain Konditor, and professional baker Gerhard Jenne, claims there are some common mistakes when making icing too.
Gerhard explained: “If your icing is full of crumbs, it’s likely your cookies were iced too fresh.
“You should add a thin layer/coat of frosting that picks up any loose bits of dough and evens out the surface and chill them in between giving the final coat.”
He continued: “If your royal icing is too sloppy it doesn’t have enough sugar in it or it’s been whipped too much.”
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