The trick to enjoying Christmas cookie and candy making is to plan and make detailed lists. Yesterday Dear Daughter and I chose four cookie recipes to bake, two classic and two trendy. We will be baking mouse shaped cookies with licorice tails and almond ears, classic shortbread, multi-colored pepper shortbread and ginger bread men.
All of these recipes have one big thing in common; the dough can be made in advance and refrigerated. That means that we can do the mixing tonight, then bake/decorate later in the week.
Look through your pantry to see which ingredients you have on hand and which you need to purchase. If your almond extract is three years old or your other spices are over one year old, please toss them and purchase new. Making cookies that taste odd is not frugal, money or time wise. Make detailed lists of ingredients you need to buy and go shopping. This is not a task to put off until the last moment.
While you are at the store check out the great prices on baking goods. We purchase flour on sale at a very good price. This is a good time to stock up for your pantry.
Most of all, please enjoy yourself and let your children have fun. The cookies don't need to be worthy of appearing in a Martha Stewart episode. They can be odd and quirky as long as they nurture your family.
P.S. Here is a hint: Roll your dough out on the parchment paper you will be baking it on. Cut out your cookie shapes and remove excess dough. Transfer the parchment paper and cookie shapes to your baking pan. This keeps you from having your cookie dough shapes fall apart when transferring them to the cookie sheet.