In my last post, I shared my Christmas bucket list. Not long after, I was able to cross #7 off my list: attend a cookie swap party.
It was more than a swap party as we learned to make eight different kinds of cookies. It was a baking party with the team from Canola Eat Well. They hosted a holiday baking party at Benjamin’s Gourmet Foods with award-winning Chef MJ Feeke. I never pass up the opportunity to learn from her and especially on this occasion where we were able to make, bake and take EIGHT dozen cookies home with us.
I’ve gushed about Benjamin’s and Chef MJ before. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it!
Back to the baking party. Chef MJ welcomed about 16 of us into her kitchen, which in itself was exciting for me. We broke down into groups of four and each made four dozen of eight different holiday cookies. After a few mistakes, some laughs and helping each other out, the cookies were baked and we each took a dozen of each cookie home. We even picked up a few baking tips along the way. It turns out, most people were there because we aren’t great bakers and we wanted to improve our skills.
All the cookies were delicious but I would have to say the Mint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies were my favourite. I’m a sucker for sugar cookies so I also really enjoyed the Brown Sugar Cut Outs (recipe below). They are basically sugar cookies made with brown sugar. Sweet and simple!
Speaking of tips, here are three I picked up from Chef MJ specifically for this recipe:
Using parchment paper (instead of greasing your cookie sheets) saves time AND did you know you can reuse your parchment paper? You can, and you might want to if you’re making a few batches of cookies. If using a convection oven, place the cookie sheet in the corner so the paper doesn’t blow.
Roll dough out in sections; this makes it easier to work. Save a piece of previously rolled out dough and add it to the next batch.
Once you have your shapes cut out and just before they are ready to go in the oven, spray them lightly with water before sprinkling on the sugar. Bake and the sugar sticks to the dough making it glisten.
I loved being in a professional baking kitchen so I snapped a few pics.
BROWN SUGAR HOLIDAY CUT OUTS
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup canola margarine
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- coloured sugar for sprinkling if desired
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
- Add parchment paper to cookie sheet. (See tip #1 above).
- Combine flour and baking soda. Set aside.
- Cream the margarine and brown sugar together. Add egg and vanilla.
- Add creamy mixture to the flour and combine.
- Roll dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least two hours — the longer the better).
- Roll dough out to about 3 mm thick. (See tip #2 for rolling out dough above).
- Cut into shapes using cookie cutters.
- If topping cookies with sugar, lightly mist with cut outs with a little water. Sprinkle with sugar on top just before baking(see tip #3 above). If not adding sugar, skip this step.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Let cool.