The most wonderful time of the year can quickly turn into the most stressful time of the year. The more you put on your plate, the harder it is to get things done. Take some stress off that plate and put some more delicious cookies on it with these helpful tips and tricks.

1. Premake Your Dough

chocolate chip cookie dough

Don't wait until Christmas Eve for a cookiethon challenge. Save yourself time by premaking the dough, freezing individual servings, and baking them when you're ready for a holiday treat. Don't forget to label the containers you'll be storing them in. This tip works best for rolled cookies such as chocolate chip cookies, Russian teacakes, and peanut butter blossoms.

2. Use A Mix

reeses peanut butter cup

Prepare some festive cookies for your next holiday gathering in a snap using a store-bought mix. You can personalize your merry desserts with add-ins and toppings. Our favorite mixes include:

3. Dip Your Cookies In Chocolate

cookie dipped in chocolate

Are you strapped for time? Did someone mention at the last minute that they need a bunch of holiday cookies? No problem. Grab some Oreos and Nutter Butter cookies and start dipping. If you want to get fancy, kick it up a notch and put a lollipop stick in each cookie. People will think you're a hero.

4. Substitute A Storage Bag For A Piping Bag

sandwich piping bag

Picture this. You're decorating some holiday sugar cookies, and your son wants to draw some faces on the cookies. You don't have any piping bags. Sure, you could make a mad dash to the store -- or you could simply use a storage bag in place of an icing bag.

To make a storage bag piping bag, snip a tiny corner off the bottom of a storage bag. A half-gallon or gallon bag will work better, since they are stronger than sandwich bags. If you only have sandwich bags on hand, be careful not to apply too much pressure.

If you're able to plan ahead, grab a few of the premade icing pouches with tips and some decorating gel. These easy-to-use mess-free pouches will let your kids put as much detail as they want into their holiday cookies.

5. Use Parchment Paper

cookies on parchment paper

There are many advantages to placing parchment paper on the bottoms of your cookie sheets. First and foremost, your cookies won't brown as much on the bottoms, and they will be softer and even more delectable. Parchment paper also makes cleanup a breeze: just toss the paper once you're finished baking, and you won't have to do any scrubbing.

Parchment paper can also help roll out any cookie dough that needs to be rolled out. Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and begin rolling. The dough will be able to spread, and it won't stick to the rolling pin or countertop.

6. Use An Eggshell To Get Eggshell Pieces Out

egg shells

One of the most annoying things about an egg is the eggshell. Once a piece of the shell gets into your mixture, it can feel like it would be easier to start over. Using your finger or a fork to get a little piece of shell out can take forever; you may even consider just leaving the shell in. However, there's a better way.

Use half of the eggshell that you broke to scoop up the shell that fell in the batter. The sharp edges of the eggshell will cut through the egg white, making it easier to scoop up the pieces of eggshell.

7. Use Your Cooling Racks

cookies on cooling rack

If you let your cookies cool on the baking sheet, your cookies will always end up extra-crunchy. If you prefer a soft and chewy cookie, you're going to want to bust out a cooling rack or two. Cookies that are left on the baking sheet to cool will continue to cook after they've been removed from the oven.

8. Keep Peanut Butter Blossom Kisses Soft

peanut butter blossoms

Nothing beats a fresh peanut butter blossom cookie. The chocolate Kiss should be soft and melty, but not too melty. However, after a few hours, the chocolate turns hard again, and you lose that fantastic texture. There is an easy way to prolong the softness of the chocolate, though.

After you place your chocolate Kisses on the peanut butter blossoms, put the cookies back in the oven for 15 seconds. This will help keep the chocolate softer for an extended period of time. As long as you don't store the cookies in a cold place, the Kisses will remain softer, but not melty.

9. Keep Your Cookies Soft With Bread

white bread

Everyone does their best to keep their cookies as soft and delicious as they were on the day they were baked. Unfortunately, as time goes on, cookies get harder. Thankfully, there's a way to combat Father Time. Place a piece of white bread in the storage container with the cookies. The slice of bread will release moisture into the container and keep your cookies soft.

By employing a few of these Christmas cookie baking hacks, you can all but guarantee your cookies will be a hit. Try just a few, or try them all!

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