'Tis the season for baking all the things. But before you dough (get it?), check out our holiday cookie cheat sheet.

chirstmas themed cookie cutters
Photography by Caitlin Bensel
| Credit: Photography by Caitlin Bensel

Nix the Timer

Most recipes include baking time, but all ovens are different. Instead of watching the clock, use your senses. Your nose knows when the sugar has caramelized and the flour has toasted. Look for slightly browned edges; cookies continue to bake as they cool so take them out on the sooner side.

gingerbread man cookie
Credit: Illustration by Joel Holland

Baby Your Butter

You don't want your gingerbread to taste like last week's garlic bread. Fat absorbs flavors, so when possible, use unopened sticks of butter to start with fresh flavor. Protect your partially used sticks by storing them in the box (or in your fridge's butter keeper) to shield them from funky fumes.

Chill Out

Most doughs benefit from an overnight chill in the fridge. Flour absorbs wet ingredients, (which helps color and flavor), and butter firms up to boost structure. Freezing works, too: Wrap logs in Reynolds Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil to protect the goods. Then slice and bake the frozen dough.

Sponsored by our friends at Reynolds Wrap