Top 5 Holiday Cooking Tips

As we dive into the holiday season, food is at the top of everyone's mind. We're dreaming about big slices of pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream, the creamiest mashed potatoes yellowed with melted butter, and a juicy, golden turkey straight from the oven - there's nothing better. As you put those finishing touches on your own recipes this year, we have a few insider tips on how to use dairy to make your holiday dishes the one everyone talks about for years to come.

Tip #1: Use cold butter for pie crusts.
As you prepare to make your homemade pie dough, try cubing your unsalted butter and popping it into the freezer for 15 minutes before you begin. And try not to over-knead your dough. Those little butter flecks you see are a good thing - they're what give the pie crust that delicious, flakey finish.

Tip #2: Add hot milk and melted butter to potatoes.
Never rush to get your potatoes mashed and to the table before they cool down again. By adding melted butter and hot milk to your spuds during the mashing process, they'll stay piping hot and won't cool down too fast with the chill of the refrigerated ingredients.

Tip #3: Use a cheese grater on cold butter to bring it to room temperature quickly.
If you're anything like us, sometimes you forget to soften the butter before you begin baking. Next time you get in a bind (and don't want to wait), pull out your trusty cheese grater and go to town on your butter sticks. The grater shreds the butter into tiny pieces that warm up in just a matter of minutes. 

Tip #4: For the moistest cakes, use dairy.
If you want your cakes to be rich and moist, be sure to add a healthy helping of either sour cream or cream cheese to the batter. That delicious dairy won't let you down in giving your cake a texture that your friends and family will rave about.

Tip #5: For the best, thickest whipped cream, use a food processor.
Next time it's on you to bring the whipped cream, pour all your ingredients (heavy cream, sugar and vanilla) into your food processor, turn it on and let it do its thing. In less than five minutes, you'll have a perfectly sturdy whipped cream perfect for topping holiday pies and hot cocoa. And if you have leftovers, spoon dollops on a wax paper lined baking sheet and once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag for later.