It’s that time of year again. Time to break out the rolling pin and cookie cutters. Dust off the utensils and dig out the baking sheets. Maybe you slave away in the kitchen nightly or maybe you haven’t turned on the oven since last year. Either way, baking holiday goodies is always a fun, family activity, even if you have the baking skills of a three-year-old.

Sugar cut-out cookies are just as important as the trimmings on the tree, so to find out how to whip up the best batch we talked to baker extraordinaire, Lisa Diemer, owner of Kitchen Chemistry. Since the second grade, Lisa has been dreaming of cakes, cookies and all kinds of yummy treats. Fascinated with cake decorating, Lisa closely watched her father who moonlighted as a baker and then later got her first job at a local bakery. It was a match made in sugar-coated heaven. In 2010, Lisa opened Kitchen Chemistry, a sweet spot located on Main Street in Stroudsburg.

Lisa filled us in on what makes Kitchen Chemistry so sweet, what holiday events you can find there this season, her favorite recipe, and tips for making the best sugar cookies.

Q. What can I find at Kitchen Chemistry?

A. We are a custom baking shop which means that we will create a special cake for any occasion – weddings, Sweet 16’s, birthdays, showers – just about anything that someone wants to celebrate. We also have a full menu of cupcakes and pastries available every day!  We also have a vintage candy section that’s a big hit with kids and adults of all ages.

I love to share my skills with anyone who wants to learn them. We have a Cupcake Lab every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1pm.  Anyone can join in and decorate a muffin sized cupcake for $7. We put out a variety of sprinkles, icings, and fondant so participants can decorate however they choose.

Q. What would you consider your specialty?

A. I would have to say that we love to “Help Create Sweet Memories” in our shop. We want our customers to leave happier then when they entered.  Our friendly staff is trained to help.

Q. What holiday treats can kids come to decorate at Kitchen Chemistry this season?

A. We will, of course, have holiday themed techniques at our Cupcake Lab each weekend. The lab is great for anyone from 2 to 90. There’s no pressure and it’s lots of fun!

Other, more informative, classes are $25 per person which includes supplies. We offer a 90-minute Cupcake Class geared towards kids 8 and above, scheduled for Saturday, November 19th at 3pm.

A Gingerbread House Class is scheduled for Saturday, December 10 at 3pm. And our Holiday Sugar Cookie Class is on Thursday, December 8 at 6pm. This class is a great parent/child experience for children under 12. We also have an adult Holiday Cookie Tray Class scheduled for Thursday, December 8th at 6pm

Q. What is your favorite holiday treat to make?

A. I love creating a big tray of holiday cookies – the colors, the flavors, the memories of enjoying your favorite cookie from childhood!
Speaking of cookies, Sugar Cut-Out cookies are always popular and they can be made in so many different ways. What’s the difference?
Basically the Sugar Cookie has more sugar which makes for a sweeter, firmer cookie. It’s great for decorating with royal icing. Butter cookies  can be a bit crumbly so they’re not an ideal dough to use when baking with children.

Q. What is your favorite holiday treat to make?

A. Here’s our favorite recipe…

Ingredients

• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
(or any extract)

Royal Icing

• 1 pound box of 10x confectioners sugar
• 3 tablespoons meringue powder
• 5 to 6 tablespoons water
(or as needed to create desired consistency)

Directions

• Mix flour and baking powder – set aside
• Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
• Add egg and flavor to butter mixture
• Beat in flour until incorporated.  DON’T OVER BEAT.
• Divide dough into two
• Place one ball between two sheets of parchment and evenly roll out to 1/4″ thick
• Place in fridge for at least an hour to firm up
• Repeat with second ball
• Remove top sheet of parchment and cut your shapes. If shapes are firm, transfer to a cookie sheet or heavy duty aluminum foil to bake on.
(Gather scraps and gently re-roll, refrigerate again, etc.)
• Bake at 350° for about 8-minutes, until edges are lightly golden brown
• Remove from oven and let cool