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Clever Christmas Cookie Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Want to focus on enjoying the festive season? Save time and money on your holiday baking with these clever Christmas cookie hacks.

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Multi-coloured marshmallowsPhoto: Shutterstock

Turn Marshmallows Into Frosting

Ran out of frosting? Don’t waste time and money running to the store. Marshmallows, if you have them handy, make a creative and easy icing fix. Dip one side of your marshmallows (mini ones work best) in water so they don’t slide off, then plop a few on each cookie when they have three to five minutes left to bake. Once they start to melt but aren’t too runny, take the cookies out and spread your “homemade” frosting with a spoon. Make sure the marshmallows don’t turn brown, or else they won’t spread easily.

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Chocolate chip cookie doughPhoto: Shutterstock

Spice Up Pre-Made Dough

Using store-bought cookie dough to make Christmas cookies isn’t cheating if you add a personal touch. Take pre-made sugar cookie dough and let it soften. Then, sprinkle in any flavour you’re craving: cinnamon, orange zest, almond extract, vanilla extract, nuts, pure peppermint extract, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips. Your guests will never know the difference.

Planning a full festive feast? Use these quick tricks to make store-bought stuffing mix taste homemade!

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Melted chocolatePhoto: Shutterstock

Dip Everything in Chocolate

The easiest way to take an ordinary cookie and make it instantly more appealing? Dip it in chocolate. This hack works with any type of cookie you make because, well, it’s chocolate. Add a dash of peppermint extract to give your dip a hint of Christmas.

Check out 99 genius holiday tips you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Pie doughPhoto: Shutterstock

Tackle Two Recipes with One Dough

Cousin Nancy wants cookies; Aunt Lorraine wants pie, but you certainly don’t have time to make both. Making pie crust takes a lot of time and patience, so store-bought cookie dough can be swapped in for an easier alternative. Simply press the softened dough into a pie dish, bake it, then add your favourite no-bake fillings like cream or fruit.

Find out how long you can expect your Christmas cookies to last.

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Sour cream in wooden bowlPhoto: Shutterstock

Make a Buttermilk or Sour Cream Alternative

If your recipe calls for a cup of buttermilk or sour cream—but they’re nowhere to be found in your fridge—take 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, then add enough milk to equal 1 cup.

Feeling nostalgic for holidays gone by? Take a look back at the ingredients grandma always used to cook with.

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Sliced white breadPhoto: Shutterstock

Keep Your Cookies Soft

No one likes a dry, hard cookie (especially not Santa Claus). To ensure maximum cookie freshness, store them in a container with a slice of white bread, half of an apple, or an orange peel. The cookies will absorb that moisture, keeping them softer longer.

Baking long in advance of the holidays? Here’s how to protect your food from freezer burn.

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Empty wine bottlesPhoto: Shutterstock

No Rolling Pin? No Problem

Wine and liquor bottles make great substitutes for rolling pins. Just wipe them down, dry them completely, and cover them in flour like you would a normal rolling pin. You can also wrap the bottle in parchment paper to be extra sanitary.

Find out more clever kitchen hacks that save time, money and effort.

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Maple syrupPhoto: Shutterstock

Don’t Let Sticky Ingredients Stick to Measuring Cups

Many Christmas cookie recipes call for ingredients like honey, syrup, or molasses. An easy fix to a sticky measurement mess is spraying the measuring cups with a non-stick spray first. You’ll get more accurate measurements, and cleaning up will be a breeze.

Find out more clever ways to put cooking spray to work all around the house.

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FlourPhoto: Shutterstock

Measure Your Flour Properly

Scooping flour directly from a bag can leave you with inaccurate measurements. Instead, spoon your flour into a dry measuring cup and scrape any excess off with a knife.

Don’t miss these baking tips we learned from our grandmas.

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Cocoa powderPhoto: Shutterstock

Substitute Chocolate with Pantry Ingredients

If you ever find yourself short on chocolate, try this alternative. For every 1 ounce you need, substitute 3 tablespoons of baking cocoa plus 1 tablespoon of shortening or vegetable oil.

Find out how to to make powdered sugar in seconds.

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ButterPhoto: Shutterstock

Stay Away from Cold Butter

Here’s a little baking secret: room temperature butter makes your cookies chewier. Leave the amount you need out on a plate for about 30 minutes before you start baking. It will mix better with dry ingredients and help the cookie dough to hold its shape while it bakes.

Here’s the truth about refrigerating butter.

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Gingerbread man cookie cuttersPhoto: Shutterstock

Flour Your Cookie Cutters

When it comes to making cutout gingerbread or sugar cookies, the dough often sticks to the cutter and deforms what you’re trying to create. Talk about a cooking disaster! Flouring your cookie cutters before each use lets the dough slice easily and keep its shape once it’s placed on the cookie sheet.

Find out the real reason aluminum foils has a shiny side and a dull side.

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Icing on Christmas cookiesPhoto: Shutterstock

Make a Frosting Pipette Out of a Sandwich Bag

Decorating your cookies has never been easier, thanks to sandwich baggies. Fill the bag with icing, snip off the corner, and you have a homemade pipette. The bigger the hole, the thicker the frosting.

Make sure you avoid these mistakes when decorating your Christmas cookies.

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Chilled cookie doughPhoto: Shutterstock

Chill Your Dough

Chilling your dough at least four hours before baking makes it easier to work with. This also enhances its flavour—especially the butter—because all of the ingredients have had time to meld together.

Now that you’ve got these Christmas cookie hacks down, get inspired with our best-ever Christmas cookie recipes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest