Baking Techniques For Your Holiday Cookies

Use these strategies for baking your holiday cookies this season.

This December, we’re going to show you how you can achieve great taste using everyone’s favorite treat: chocolate. This content was created in partnership with Food52.

The holidays are nothing without cookies. We spend the month of December sampling as many types, from as many bakers, as we possibly can; we host cookie swaps, office parties, and open houses; and we entertain our children by letting them smother sugar cookie snowmen and holiday snowflakes in icing and sanding sugar.

But before the cookie marathon starts, remember these baking strategies, then try our recipe for crunchy almond shortbread cookies — you’ll have the best cookie season yet.

How to Position Oven Racks for Baking:
It seems like a small detail, but where you position your oven racks can affect the outcome of each batch. Here are a few general rules to live by for even baking:

For gas ovens:
To bake a single sheet of cookies, position the rack in the center of the oven. A little over halfway through baking, rotate the cookies so the front of the baking sheet is now facing the back of the oven. 

Baking two sheets of cookies at once:
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. A little over halfway through baking, rotate the sheets from top to bottom and 180°.

For electric ovens:
The same rules apply here. However, since electric ovens often have a coil exposed on the floor of the oven, you should position your racks as if the top of the coil was the bottom of the oven. This means that the middle of the oven is midway between the top of the coil and the top of the oven, while the lower third of the oven is a third of the distance from the top of the coil to the top of the oven. Take a look inside your oven, and this will all become clear.


Better-tasting cookies

With the Perfect Taste™ Convection technology in our wall oven, cookies on every rack are equally delicious.

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Crunchy Chocolate Almond Shortbread Cookies

Servings: 18 cookies



1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 plus 1/3 cups almonds, roughly chopped, divided

1/3 cup cacao nibs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped


Position a rack in center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl using an hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add 1/2 cup almonds, cocoa nibs, and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into logs about 3 inches long. Place on baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch of room between each cookie. Bake until the cookies are golden brown around the edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Put chopped chocolate in a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Stir chocolate until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Place remaining 1/3 cup almonds in a small, shallow bowl. Dip one end of each cookie in the melted chocolate about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep. Let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl, then roll the chocolate-coated end in chopped almonds. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Let stand until the chocolate has hardened, at least one hour. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Photos by James Ransom

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