Take it from a pro, Craig from Craig’s Cookies has some tips to up your holiday baking game. Craig’s Cookies are an obsession of mine, each version a joyful bundle, a nostalgic reminder of a sweet memory. I love them so much. But, baking is also an obsession of mine, especially during the holidays. While I rely on my traditions and time-honoured recipes to replicate each year, there’s always room for improvement.
So that’s when I called on Craig. The generous cookie baker with an east-coast heart of gold has some wisdom to share between baking batches and of course his rigorous acting schedule. Getting your butter to room temp is only the start.
TOP BAKING TIPS FROM CRAIG’S COOKIES
Craig’s number one tip is to use salted butter. “It does create some controversy with bakers and definitely within our Craig’s Cookies community. Folks either love that our cookies are on the bit of the saltier side…or they don’t. Which is the lovely bit of being in food, everyone’s got an opinion,” says Craig.
Another tip, if you can spare the time, is to allow the dough to chill in the refrigerator. “Roll it into a ball and refrigerate for an hour or two before baking. That helps the butter caramelize during the baking process,” offers Craig.
Explore other ways to use butter, like making brown butter for your dough. While Craig is specific on NOT using brown butter in his trademark cookies, he does use it occasionally for home baking, like for banana bread or brownies.
With your baking dough ready to go, you may be tempted to just dump in some Chipits and call it a day. Don’t. Craig suggests trying white chocolate chips or cranberry for a festive feel or adding rosemary or other herbs for a savoury note.
He’s also been known to melt butter with whiskey to drizzle on top of cookies or incorporate a hard candy shell for a brand-new look. Whether you’re baking with family or making gifts, ask your flock what their favourite chocolates or candies are to make a custom creation just for them.
MORE SWEET TIPS FROM CRAIG’S COOKIES
Holiday treats like Toblerone or Hershey Kisses make for more impressive flourishes than just basic nuts. Also, always follow the recipe – that’s science! Craig suggests that finding a recipe that has equal parts brown and white sugar is good- and watch the baking soda amount as if it seems like a lot- it is- and it’ll taste kinda sudsy.
Finally, Look at your family’s recipes. “It can create really beautiful connections with grandmas and mothers. Ask what recipes they enjoyed growing up. And maybe adapt for today’s crowd,” says Craig.