(ARA) – The holiday season is a special time for family and friends to gather, and home-baked desserts have always had a place at the table. According to a Baker’s Joy Homemade Holiday survey, more than 75 percent of Americans are planning to bake more this year compared to years past.
But before you break out the sugar and cookie sheets, take a look at these baking and storage tips to make sure your homemade holiday treats will leave family members smiling all season long:
* When baking two sheets of cookies at once, place them on different racks at different angles to allow proper air circulation. Switch racks half way through cooking time to ensure even heat distribution and baking.
* Cookies are less likely to burn if they are baked on a light-colored metal cookie sheet versus a dark metal sheet.
* For soft-baked cookies that have started to dry out, re-soften by adding a slice of apple or a piece of bread to the container where they are kept.
* When rolling out cookies, use powdered sugar instead of flour. The sugar will add sweetness and you won’t have to worry about adding too much flour.
* Experiment beyond the usual holiday gingerbread. Surprise your family this year with a premium dessert; and nothing says gourmet like premium chocolate. With more than 50 percent of American adults preferring chocolate to other flavors, these delectable surprises are sure to become a new holiday tradition.
Chocolate cookies will bring joy to not only your family, but this season they can also bring hope, strength and joy to children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is helping the Make-A-Wish Foundation grant wishes through a $100,000 contribution. Consumers can show their support for the Ghirardelli Make-A-Wish program by baking with Ghirardelli chocolate and visiting www.Ghirardelli.com.
Want to bake delicious chocolate cookies and give back to the community? Try this easy recipe, created by 2004 James Beard Foundation Pastry Chef of the year, Emily Luchetti.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 bar (4 ounces) Ghirardelli 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 bag (11.5 ounces) Ghirardelli 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Melt baking bar on double boiler and set aside. Mix flour and salt together and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture and mix just until blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
- Heat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured board, roll dough to ⅜-inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. If the dough is very soft, chill again for at least 30 minutes. Bake for seven to nine minutes. Cool completely in pan.
- Melt chocolate chips with one tablespoon of butter in a double boiler. Dip cooled cookie in melted chocolate mixture and let chocolate set. Makes about one dozen cookies.