Three Baking Hacks

As the season of Olympic baking is upon us, I thought I’d share a few hacks I will be relying on through the end of the year — and likely beyond.  Just a warning: If you are the type of person who has an arsenal of pastry tubes and tips, who knows your way around fondant, you might want to skip this post. But if you are like me, i.e. the type of person who gets dazed and confused in JoAnn’s baking aisle, or who has grand ambitions about this year making a mind-blowing, game-changing sable for the cookie swap, but who ends up falling back on her old-standby ice box cookies for the fifth year in a row…then proceed as directed. I wanted to start with what you’re looking at above, The “A+ cake” I made a few months ago when I was filming my book trailer. In the video, I was trying to make the point that anything is worth celebrating with cake, even a good grade (even a Wednesday!) and so on set, I decided to fashion a homemade stencil out of parchment paper then dust on some powdered sugar. It’s cute, right? Is Martha going to be knocking down my door about this one. Um, no. But the return on investment (five minutes of work, using what was on hand –> happy, grateful daughter) should be enough for most of us, and around the holidays, I can see repurposing one of the kids’ art class snowflakes for the hack, too. (P.S. As long as we’re talking low-maintenance, high-payoff stencil action, you can also maybe try it in reverse with sprinkles, a la Brooke Reynolds.)


I actually do have a whole box of decorating tips somewhere in my baking box, but ever since I was little, I’ve just found it easier to spoon ganache or melted chocolate into a plastic bag, snip off the corner (a tiny tiny bit) and pipe on whatever message I need, including but not limited to: “2017,” kids’  initials, nicknames, emojis, hashtags (anything but #MAGA). P.S. I mauled these pancakes within seconds of taking the picture. See page 149 in How to Celebrate Everything for the recipe (minus the chocolate chips) that will inspire the lifelong Sunday Pancake Family Ritual.

Like always, we’re having some kids over for holiday cookie decorating, and this year I’m so excited to offer them not just boring old sprinkles and dyed frosting. No no no. THIS year, there will be luster dust (see pinkish cookie lower left, the one that looks like it was decorated by a toddler, but which was actually frosted by yours truly), the addition of which, I think, makes everything instantly more wintry and festive.  You find it on Amazon and good baking stores.

 

Lastly, Dorie’s Cookies by the legendary Dorie Greenspan. This is not so much a hack as it is a resource for hacks who no longer want to be hacks. Though Dorie is famous for baking (and in particular her cookies, who remembers her beloved Beurre & Sel in NY?) she’s never put together all her cookie recipes — 300 in all — in one place until now. And we should all be very glad she did. There are Meringue Snowballs, Jam-filled “Little Rascals,” Christmas Spice Cookies, and other A+ holiday options, but there is also the Beurre & Sel collection, and cookies for everyday, including biscottis, bars, brownies, break-ups, and a recipe for Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops that I baked last weekend to rave reviews, and that, come to think of it, would make a nice option for the swap.

It’s Friday and I’m feeling generous! I’m giving away one free copy of Dorie’s Cookies to a lucky commenter. Winner will be selected at random and must live in the U.S. Deadline: Sunday, December 11, 8PM ET. Good luck!  Update: The winner has been notified. Thanks for playing, everyone!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 9 + 15 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

243 Comments

alycia

I am the worst at decorating cookies and come from a long line of wonderful bakers. Last year I even cried as I packed up my shipment for my dad’s cookies because they were so pitiful!

Reply
Alexandra White

Thanks for the tips–now more happy things in my Amazon cart. Love the clever stencil tip for cakes, wow!!

Reply
Alisa Smirnova

I’m a terrible baker so any and all hacks greatly appreciated! Thanks Jenny!

Reply
Liz A.

My mom was just asking me for a new holiday cookie recipe. It’s her birthday on the 16th, and a recipe from THE Dorie would be the perfect gift!

Reply
Molly

I just heard Dorie being interviewed about that book—would love to try some of her cookies.

Reply
Peggy

You’ve inspired me to invite some friends over and decorate cookies! Thanks for another great post =)

Reply
Trisha Warner

Love cooking with my shining star 11 year old! We would love to test out some new cookie recipes 🙂

Reply
Martha

I’ve been on the fence about buying this cookbook. A free one would solve my indecision. 🙂

Reply
Ashley

Last year my hack was to spend an afternoon making cookies dough, then I froze it and baker as needed throughout the Holiday season. I would love to expand my cookie repertoire with some new recipes!

Reply
JoAZ

I’m baking cookies this weekend – would love to learn from Doris a disciple of Julia Child!

Reply
Ashley

Last year my hack was to spend an afternoon making cookie dough, then I froze it and baked as needed throughout the Holiday season. I would love to expand my cookie repertoire with some new recipes!

Reply
Laura

I LOVE DORIES COOKIES! Everything that she makes is incredible. Would love to have a copy of her book!

Reply
Kate

Think I’ll need to get some luster dust for my son who has declared he’ll always pick the sparkle finish at the pottery painting place because “I love sparkles.” 🙂

Reply
Carlin

My two year old and I made cookies together for the first time this week. I’d love to have this cookbook to pick our next baking adventure.

Reply
aleks

I keep seeing Dorie’s cookbook everywhere online! My back-up cookie recipe is one of Ina Garten’s – the coconut jam thumbprints. Every year, I make them around Christmas and the whole family looks forward to them hot out of the oven.

Reply
Jackie

Cookies are my favorite thing to bake, and I would love to get in the kitchen with Dorie’s new book!

Reply
Randi

I love Dorie’s cookbooks but don’t have this one yet, so would be beyond thrilled to win it!

Reply
Susan

This book would be great for my 11 year old daughter who has just started baking with friends.

Reply
cs white

I’ve totally done the plastic bag trick before. I’ll have to try the stencil idea, too. And the cookbook? Oh, yum!

Reply
Anna

I’m planning on giving bags of flash frozen cookie dough balls to all my neighborhood friends this year. Perfect book for it 🙂

Reply
Rhonda Texter

I love making cookies at Christmas, and then I give them out as gifts. New recipes would be great.

Reply
Alison

Dorie is the best! I always host a cookie swap — it’s a favorite holiday ritual of mine — and spend weeks and months obsessing over what to make. This would be an amazing and perfectly-timed source of inspiration.

Reply
Laura S-S

I made Dorie’s World Peace Cookies – oh so good! Would love to make more of her recipes! Happy Holidays to you!

Reply
Daina

Thank you for the baking hacks! I am a cook, not a baker. I hate to measure, I don’t really follow recipes to the letter and I cook by feel. Baking, as I am reminded each time that my cookies are rock hard or my cakes don’t rise, is a science and precision matters. But, oh I would LOVE to be a baker or at least a cookie baker! Will Dorie Greenspan’s book help me achieve this dream? Maybe not, but it can’t hurt 🙂

Reply
Allie

Fantastic! We are heading into Serious Baking Mode and I’d love Dorie’s book. Your cookies look great– that they look like they are decorated by a home baker, in my view, adds to their charm and makes them look more delicious (at least that’s what we tell ourselves over here).

Reply
Anne

We are making German yeast cookies this weekend – 12 dozen – a childhood favorite with lots of family stories of the baking experience!

Reply
Schuyler

My daughter is a huge baker, and would so love this cookie book! She just made our Thanksgiving pies from scratch (she is 11) and whipped up some chocolate chip cookies before bed two nights ago. Thanks!

Reply
Lily

I’m convinced Dorie’s Cookies + Alice Medrich’s Cookies and Brownies are basically the only cookie books you’ll need for any holiday/special/ordinary occasion!

Reply
Madelaine

I love this blog and would love a copy of Dorie’s Cookies! I asked for it for Christmas 🙂

Reply
Pam-ella

These all look amazing. And could even be done on store-bought goodies if you’re, ahem, like me. Thanks for the great ideas. 300 recipes for cookies sounds like a dangerous thing to have during the winter months. I love your blog and your books.

Reply
Barbara

One christmas season years ago when my friend’s now adult children were little, I gave my friend a fat, wrapped slab of homemade cut-out cookie dough, a tub of homemade icing, three plastic cookie cutters, and red and green sugars, so she could have the fun part of the cookie making without the drudgery of ~checking to see if you have ingredients~going to the store with the kids to get the ingredients you invariably don’t have~ finding 15 uninterrupted minutes to make the dough (hah!)~ finding the cookie cutters…–, they were in the junk drawer last year….? And realizing you forgot the colored sugar!! Arrgh…!
Can’t tell you how appreciative she was 🙂

Reply
Christina

When it comes to decorating, I”m firmly in the “it’s the thought that counts” camp. After all, nobody ever complains about design or execution when faced with homemade cake.

Reply
Lindsey R.

Love your blog, Jenny! We recently did a meatball night and used your recipe — it was a hit! Thanks for the baking hacks. Dorie’s book looks amazing — would love to add it to my collection.

Reply
Elizabeth

I am crossing my fingers your book is under the tree for me on Christmas morning, and I’d so love a copy of Dorie’s Cookies, too!

Reply
Liz

Part of the joy of Christmas is Christmas cookies. Thanks for telling us about this book!

Reply
Nicole

I heard Dorie for the first time on the Radio Cherry Bombe podcast, and I instantly became a fan! Crossed fingers I win her book.

Reply
Jessica Burley

It’s the perfect time of year to try new cookie recipes! Thanks for the hacks and the book giveaway.

Reply
Kimberly Steinmetz

Great hacks–especially the one about the baggie — quick way to write/decorate! The cookie book looks wonderful…I’d pick a cookie over almost any dessert!

Reply
Beth

I make cookies for the family every week and would love some inspiration for new cookies!

Reply
Katie

I’ve heard so much about this book but just haven’t bit the bullet. It would be a really nice holiday gift to myself 🙂

Reply
Barbara

I would love to win this cookbook — I seriously need to up by cookie game, which is limited to chocolate chip and its larger cousin Monster.

Reply
Shannon

Broke college student scraping her way through exams, currently eating a box of mac and cheese and peas (last things I had in the house, but also one of my favorite idiosyncratic combinations), dreaming of cookies and holiday celebrating!

Reply
Alissa

Would love to add this to my shelves! And love the stencil idea – we have a lot of winter birthdays (one in a few weeks!), so simple always wins!

Reply
Susanna Cover

Cookie baking is one of my favorite things, and I can’t wait to check this book out!

Reply
Lindley

Oh man, Dorie Greenspan’s book would make amazing addition to my cookbook collection!

Reply
Clarissa

Love Dorie. Own Baking. Have made so many things from it. Another Dorie book would be a treat!

Reply
Betsy

What a great giveaway!…just the inspiration I need for adding to our list of old favorites.

Reply
Katy

Today’s my birthday and my husband gave me Dinner: A Love Story!! I checked it out from the library a couple years ago but I need my own! Also on my Christmas list is How To Celebrate Everything. Thanks for the great recipes!

Reply
Bearsmama

I’ve been lusting after this book. I have a few other baking “Bibles” and I desperately want to add this to my collection! Thanks for the giveaway!

Reply
Maria

Oooh, I can just see all the cookies I can make with my 10 year old daughter! I’ve been eyeing this book since it was released!

Reply
Cay

Oh wow, that would be a deadly book to have around the house. Deadly in a good way of course.

Reply
Adie

I’m am going to get this book for my mom. She is retiring at the end of the year and will have some time to make cookies with her grandkids!

Reply
Lynn in Tucson

My husband is the cookie baker in this household. His chocolate chip cookies are so good that I’ve abdicated completely!

Reply
Rachel

Let’s be clear – I’m new to the name Dorie Greenspan (does a walk of shame ….) but now I’m insanely intrigued.

Reply
Tara V

Ooh, thanks for the tip on Dorie’s cookie book! I might have to add this to my Christmas list!

Reply
Stacy in NC

I would love to have a cookbook full of yummy cookies waiting to happen! Thank you for the chance to win.

Reply
Mindi

I’m FINALLY realizing that I’m a much better baker than cake or cupcakes okie decorator. New recipes would be awesome!

Reply
Meghan

Love the parchment stencil idea- will definitely be trying that this year! Love reading your blog and your books too- my family has enjoyed many of your recipes. Thank you!

Reply
Mindi

Not sure why auto-correct butchered my comment. Should read: “cake or cookie decorator”

Reply
laura

Are those World Peace Cookies on the cover? That’s the only recipe of hers I’ve ever tried, and shame on me because they are SO FREAKING WONDERFUL that I should have run right out to try other ones too! Thanks for doing this giveaway!

Reply
Sheree

Jenny, I am not a baker, nor a fabulous cook, but I do have a 13-year old daughter who is going through some teenage stuff and I would love to bond over something, anything. Making cookies sounds perfect for this time of year and, as I have zero recipes for cookies, I would love to have her pick some out of Dorie’s book.

Reply
joy

I would love to win Dorie Greenspan’s cookie book! I want to know what the jam-filled Little Rascals are!

Reply
Heidi

YUM! I have all of your cookbooks and love your blog! Yes…I am a DALS groupie. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.

Reply
Cynthia

I need to try something other than the four kinds of cookies I always make. I hope I win!

Reply
AnnieM

Something about the holidays turns me into a cookie baker! Hardly ever make cookies unless Christmas is near, but oh boy, it definitely makes everyone celebrate!!! Thanks for the giveaway!

Reply
Lyss

Ooh, is that the World Peace cookie on the cover? I think it may be the only Dorie cookie recipe I’ve ever made, but I have made it many times. 🙂

Reply
Amber H.

Any of Dorie’s recipes that I’ve tried have been so yummy…I’d love a copy of this book! (And thanks for the tips!)

Reply
Jessica

Parchment paper stencil! Genius! So simple that I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner! P.s. Love Dorie Greenspan!

Reply
Jane

Thank you for those easy hacks, especially the luster dust! I’m excited to to try that and hopefully, some new ideas from Dorie’s Cookies, when I win the cookbook

Reply
jenn in GA

Oh.My.WORD–Dorie Greenspan is sharing A.L.L. her cookie recipes?!? WOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! if i don’t win this–thanks for being so generous–i now have something to ask for for Christmas!

Reply
Allison Morvant

I’d love to add it to my collection; I know we’d get so much use out of it this time of year.

Reply
Ingrid

I used to make a whole lot more cookies when my girls were young. Maybe this book would help me get started again. (I already have HTCE, and used it for Thanksgiving. LOVED the salad! Making it for Christmas too!)

Reply
Kim

I tried the Moroccan Semolina and Almond Cookies — tasty but very crumbly dough. I am not sure where I went wrong….

Reply
Heather Waterman

Baking is my life! Dorie is a goddess! I also love your blog…
-mother of 3 boys who like cookies.

Reply
Margot

Is it wrong that I am glad to have a toddler to blame my messy decorating on? Dorie is the best! I have the book already, but would happily gift it to someone.

Reply
Bridgit Cook

Last night my daughter and I made “our” apple cake. We’ve made it at least four times this fall. She’s in charge of the eggs oil and dry goods, while I cut the apples, prep the pan and take care of the nuts and raisins, if we are using them. It’s such an easy cake, always comes out great, and is better the second day. I love that it’s becoming a ritual. Thanks for your great writing and inspiration. (FYI, the cake is a riff on Nigella Lawson’s apple cake from How to be a Domestic Goddess. We love it.)

Reply
Lisa McCormack

Recipe research and baking are part of my early morning routine. Her book would be a great addition to add to my library!

Reply
MikasMinion

I have been racking my brain to think of a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law. I would, of course, need to try a copy myself first and this would be a great opportunity.

Reply
Neile

I have been curious about this cookbook since hearing an interview with Dorie Greenspan about it. Cookies are my hands-down favorite baked good. Fingers crossed!

Reply
Amy goddard

Would love to win this to give to my 13 year old niece who is just discovering cookie making

Reply
Erin in PA

Oh, that Cookies book is on my wishlist for the holidays! Today we are making gingerbread houses and pretzel candies – a great pairing of extremes. We really do make the gingerbread pieces from scratch, but those pretzel candies are a cinch. Just Round pretzel wheels, a candy coating wafer in the oven for a few minutes, then top with a M&M. YUM!

Reply
Peggy

Now I’m in the mood to bake and decorate cookies! Would love to add this one to my shelf.

Reply
Kathy Hurd

I love being a retired grandma so I can bake cookies for my own family & my daughter’s family. I love having the grandchildren bake with me.

I didn’t get to do much baking with my own children because of a busy teaching career. But they do remember my grandmother’s kolacky recipe. Finding some new recipes from your book would help create some new cookie traditions for the holidays. Thanks for your offer.

Reply
Katherine

Yum – the cookies look delicious! Such a fun giveaway as we commence with our cooking baking this week. Thank you!

Reply
Holly Sharp

Um, THANKS for making me feel better about my incompetence at cookie decorating. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my inability to flood icing. Also, thanks for the giveaway!

Reply
jen

the frosting in a bag with the corner snipped off bag is my favorite–i’ve managed not owning piping tips for years!

Reply
Karen

Love the cookbook, but just wanted to say yay to any hashtag but #MAGA. You made me laugh. You’re the best!

Reply
Liss

I did the cake hack a couple weeks ago when my son passed his reading level. He was so tickled!

Reply
Ann

Ha! I am so you! I called my Mom asking her if I could omit nuts from a russian tea cake cookie. I am totally stressing about the holiday cookie situation right now for some reason.

Reply