Cooking lots of cookies in a hurry can be challenging.
Create as much counter space as you can. If you need to, you can use the dining room table with a piece of cardboard under each sheet of aluminum foil. Start by preheating the oven. If you have two ovens, preheat both of them.
Then prepare your dough. Get out your cookie sheet and place a piece of aluminum foil on it. Do not bend it, but leave it just lying there. The more cookie sheets you have, the better. Prepare the aluminum foil sheets for each one.
Place your raw dough on the first piece of aluminum foil.
This works well with dough from scratch, premixes, and store bought dough from the refrigerated section. You may also be able to buy premixed dough at the bakery in your grocery store.
You can go ahead and place it in the oven even in it has not finished preheating. You will have to check it regularly to make sure the cookies don't over cook.
Prepare the next cookie sheet the same way.
When you run out of cookie sheets, continue to prepare cookies on sheets of aluminum foil the size of your cookie sheet. Do not stack these sheets since raw dough is sticky.
When the first batch is cooked, take the cookie sheet out of the oven using your oven mitten, close the oven, and carefully lift the aluminum foil off the cookie sheet and set it to the side to let the cookies cool.
Put another piece of aluminum foil that has been preloaded with cookies on the cookie sheet and then put the cookie sheet back in the oven.
At this point the oven should be close to temperature so you can set a timer for each batch from now on. If you need to, you can stack the cooked cookies while still on the aluminum foil sheets.
When cool enough the cookies will easily peel off the aluminum foil sheets. You can reuse the aluminum foil sheets by turning them over to reload. After a sheet has been reloaded and cooked and the cookies removed, you can continue to flip over the sheets.
At first you will think that this is going to be easy, but as you progress, you will become busier and busier.
You will attract everyone in the household with the smell of fresh cookies. Supervise your new army well. Watch the dog!
Source: My own idea. Henry Ford invented the production line, but he couldn't eat his results!
By Ed from Durham, NC
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As a busy working mother, I'm short on time, especially during the holidays, but baking Christmas cookies is a family tradition I'm unwilling to give up. Over the years, I've come up with many ways to make the process of baking a
large variety of cookies go much smoother and take less time out of my busy life. You may want to start by checking out my 6-day program for Christmas cookie baking In addition to the 6-step method, I've found an efficient way to prepare a large variety of cookie dough with minimum fuss by setting up a cookie assembly line. The best part about this process is that you can make 12 different batches of cookies and only have to wash the dishes once!
This process assumes that you have already chosen your recipes and gone grocery shopping. You will want to use your longest available expanse of countertop for this. My assembly line turns two corners as it winds around my small kitchen, but that is fine.
You may need to make some adjustments depending on your individual recipes, but for most recipes, you can set up your assembly line like so:
To avoid transferring flavors from one recipe to another, you will start with basic recipes that have no spices, chocolate, or other strongly flavored ingredients. Starting with your first recipe, go down the line measuring out the amount of flour, baking powder/soda and salt into one bowl. Then, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla in your larger bowl as directed. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture. After that, stir in any chunks.
Next, scrape down the edges of the mixing bowl so that it's fairly clean, shape the dough into a ball, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Identify the recipe by writing its name on the plastic wrap with a felt-tip marker, and refrigerate it. If it is a slice-and-bake refrigerator cookie, form it into a log instead of a ball, according to the directions in your recipe. If you plan to bake much later, you can even freeze the dough. Most cookie doughs freeze very well. Defrost at room temperature while still wrapped in plastic wrap, and unwrap only when dough is thoroughly defrosted. Otherwise condensation could add too much moisture to your dough.
When your first batch of dough is prepared, wrapped, and stored in the refrigerator or freezer, return to the beginning of your assembly line, without washing your dishes, and begin preparing the next batch of dough. When you have prepared all the recipes that contain no spices or cocoa, move on to the recipes that contain cocoa, and finally those that contain spices. This way, you will only have to do dishes once at the end of the process, and you will have several different kinds of dough waiting to be baked
When all your dough is prepared, then you can finally put away all your ingredients, clean up the kitchen, and do your dishes. Now if you plan to finish your baking today, you'll have lots of space for rolling out your dough or setting out your cooling racks. If you plan to bake another day, you're done!
About The Author:
Copyright 2003 Mimi Cummins. All Rights Reserved.
Mimi Cummins is co-author of the book "Christmas Cookies Are for Giving:
Recipes, Stories, and Tips for Making Heartwarming Gifts." For more information, excerpts
and sample recipes, visit http://www.christmascookiesareforgiving.com