I’m not a baker. If you ask me, I’ll gladly show up at your house and happily make a complicated dinner for eight but if you ask me to bake cookies, I’ll graciously decline. Baking requires precision – measuring exact amounts and following directions. Have I mentioned that following direction is not my best quality?
I’m not sure why but I feel compelled to make Christmas cookies even though I know it means curbing my inner tendency to improvise and change the recipe. Making cookies also requires timing – another thing that I’m not good at.
This year I found two recipes that I will use now and forever (or until I find a different recipe).
Full credit goes to Alton Brown for his wonderful sugar cookie recipe, Alex Guarnaschelli for her gingerbread cookie recipe and Food and Wine’s royal icing. These recipes are easy to follow and for me that’s really important. The most important thing is that they taste really good.
The sugar cookies are just the right amount of sweetness. I dare you to eat just one. The gingerbread took a little longer to cook than the recipe indicates but you end up with a cookie that firm but not brittle. I also suggest that you bake off all the cookies first and make sure they’re cool before you decorate them.