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Brother Andrew’s Christmas Baking Tips and Tricks

Award-winning baker Brother Andrew Corriente offers advice for baking for loved ones during the holidays.

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Hi Guideposts. I’m Brother Andrew Corriente, and I’m the winner of Season 5 of The Great American Baking Show.

Today I am making my version of a gingerbread cookie. What’s interesting about this cookie is that it’s a mixture between two cookies, a gingerbread cookie and a snickerdoodle. I make traditional soft gingerbread cookie and roll that in cinnamon sugar, and it creates this beautiful, chewy but very cinnamon, very spicy flavor profile and it’s just amazing.

On Christmas time, I usually make something like cinnamon roles or sticky buns. I think Christmas should have warm, spicy, comforting vibes, and for me, that is always sticky buns and cinnamon rolls.

When you’re baking for Christmas, keep in mind two things: Plan ahead. Things always go wrong in the kitchen, so make sure to make your cookie dough well in advance. Put it in the freezer, and then bake it maybe the day before, just to make sure it works. Plan your things ahead.

And also, don’t be so hard on yourself because you know, at the end of the day, a burnt cookie is still pretty good. At the end of the day, an apple pie is still amazing. So I think that as long as we keep the other person in our focus, it will be a successful bake.

Spiritually, I think that we should keep in mind, this notion of celebration, that good news is coming to us, that there’s to be peace, love and justice in this world, and so keeping in mind the spiritual aspect of Christmas.

Whenever I am kneading dough or icing a cookie or decorating in whatever way, my perfectionistic side comes out of me whenever I bake. I get frustrated with something. It’s not quite right, I’m over-analyzing, I’m hard on myself. But God comes to us in the stillness and the silence. So, for me, I try my best just to, in a sense, zone out and just let God take over.

What I think people should focus on with their baking and Christmas is the act of giving. And that relates to Christmas because Jesus gave his life for us. And so, for me, whenever I give my baked goods to other people, I give my all. As Jesus would’ve given his all, too.

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