Read This Before Using A Cookie Press For Christmas Cookies

If there's ever a good time to bake cookies, it's during the holidays. There's something about the season that makes all of us excited to get into the kitchen, dust off baking trays, and fire up the oven. And, even better, if you're in need of a last-minute present for someone that you totally forgot to buy a gift for, what could be better than a tin of freshly-baked and warm homemade cookies?

For anybody that intends to bake a large batch of Christmas cookies this year, there's really nothing that beats a cookie press. When used correctly, a manual cookie press is a souped up version of a cookie cutter that pushes out perfectly-shaped delicate cookies that would otherwise turn out squished and in one deformed blob. It's easy, too — all you really need to do is put your cookie dough inside the hollow tube, attach the nozzle of your choice, and watch a beautiful cookie shape come out every time you push the handle.

However, when it comes to such simple devices as this one, little tricks can go a long way into making your cookies come out even better. Per Food Network, even little things, like how you pull up on the handle after squeezing out the dough, matters. Here's some advice.

The timing and temperature make all the difference

As Food Network notes, the best method for using a cooking press is — once you've squeezed out the cookie dough shape, you should pull the handle and lift the press straight up in half a second. The Spruce Eats also suggests waiting for a second until you move on to the next cookie so that you don't have little strings of dough between them. It's really that simple and makes all the difference.

But there are more tips. Also according to Food Network, the temperature of your cookie dough can likewise play a huge role in how well your cookies turn out. If the dough has just come out of the refrigerator and is too cold, you're going to struggle to squeeze it out of the cookie press. If it's too warm and soft, the cookie is not going to hold its shape while baking. So, if you find the dough is too cold, simply roll the press between your hands to warm it up — and if it's too soft, pop it back into the refrigerator for a couple of minutes.

The Spruce Eats also recommends sticking to cookie recipes that are made for a press, at least until you get the hang of the nifty little gadget to start experimenting. Following a recipe intended to be used with a cookie press will ensure that your dough is of the right consistency to pass through the tool. (Martha Stewart's website has a great recipe you could try.) You should also not be using any mix-ins for the dough as those too will not easily squeeze through the cookie press.

Lastly, make sure that you're holding the press straight and evening out the pressure so that each Christmas cookie's thickness is consistent throughout. Once you've managed to nail these little tricks, you're on your way to baking dozens of beautifully-shaped treats that even Santa will love.