How To Bake Holiday Cookies That Will Make Your Great-Aunt Scream With Pleasure

For a seemingly simple baked good, holiday cookies sure can be tricky. Even the most confident cake bakers can be cowed by the mighty cookie—maybe because the individual units are so small, which shines a spotlight on baking mishaps. If you, like me, could use some pro tips this holiday season, The Washington Post is here to help with these handy tidbits:

Ingredient temperature is key: If your recipe calls for room-temperature eggs or butter, use room-temperature eggs or butter. If you forgot to place your ingredients on the counter prior to entering the Bake Zone, you can soften the butter in the microwave in short bursts. You can also place eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for about five minutes to bring them up to room temp.

Mix well. Do you find yourself scrolling through Twitter while churning up your dough? The Post emphasizes "attentive mixing of the dough" for best results. That means paying attention to the visual cues provided in a recipe. For example, if your butter-sugar mixture is supposed to look light and fluffy, keep mixing until it's light and fluffy—even if that means mixing for three minutes instead of two.

Reject the siren song of silicone: According to the experts at the Post, silicone baking mats can cause cookies, especially butter-based doughs, to spread too much. When in doubt, the Post recommends using parchment paper.

Don't overbake: This might sound like a no-brainer, but it's easier said than done. The Post explains that, while your cookies may not look fully baked fresh out of the oven, they'll often keep baking in the pan's residual heat. Trust the process!

You can check out the rest of the Post's tips in a recent article. Meanwhile, do you have a life-changing cookie tip? We'd love to hear it.