Make Christmas Cookies Tonight!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas! Like me, most of you are probably working today -- boooo!! On the bright side, a little pre-planning and a trip to your local grocery store can give you a Christmas Eve that's bright and merry!

Want to make sugar cookies tonight? Simple--all you need is some main ingredients and voila!

Toaster oven: Can't make cookies without this staple item. I got mine from Gmarket.co.kr, but you can get yours at E-mart, Lotte, or any big department store. A good one will run you about 50,000+ but you can get a pretty decent one for about 30,000.

My school bought mine and it's a Tefal "Cook 'n Toast." I DO NOT recommend this type of toaster oven. Why? It has a strange feature of a cooktop. Normally multitasking items are a good thing but the drawback is the heat is leached out through the top (plus there's a gaping hole where the cooktop sets on top of the oven itself). It's difficult to regulate and takes a little more cookie-sitting compared to the other models. You can see my toaster oven here: http://global.gmarket.co.kr/challenge/neo_goods/goods.asp?goodscode=132510847&pos_shop_cd=SH&pos_class_cd=111111111&pos_class_kind=T&keyword_order=toaster+oven

I recommend getting something that looks (and acts) more like a convection oven. The difference between the toaster and convection ovens is that the latter has a fan to distribute the heat while the former does not. Toaster ovens work just fine. Something like this: http://global.gmarket.co.kr/challenge/neo_goods/goods.asp?goodscode=116306417&pos_shop_cd=SH&pos_class_cd=111111111&pos_class_kind=T&keyword_order=toaster+oven

Now, once you get a toaster oven, everything else is simple! I used Alton Brown's recipe on the Food Network website because it's simple and yields quite a few sugary beauties! It's located here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/sugar-cookies-recipe/index.html

Here's where the trick comes in: Rather than purchasing a bunch of cutters that you will only use once, roll the finished dough into a log. Refrigerate for an hour and slice cookies to your desired thickness (thick for soft cookies, thin for crispy). You can use powdered sugar for the decoration rather than having different shapes!

You can find everything at your local department store. If you are willing to wait until Christmas break--if you're a schoolteacher, it should start this weekend, you can order powdered sugar and decorations from ehomebakery.co.kr.

Baking in Korea is all about trial, error, and having an open mind. I tried snickerdoodles last night and they did NOT work. Haha, I'm not too proud to admit my culinary mistakes! Getting together with friends is one of the best ways to fight loneliness during the holidays away from home. And, if you're the adventurous type, invite some Koreans over to learn with you.

A pot of mulled wine helps create the Christmas atmosphere to try something new. I hope all of you will give it a go! Check out my blog for pictures of my cookies and more tips on baking: http://navigatingcultures.blogspot.com

Happy Holidays!

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