Tuesday Tip: Holiday Cookies {Part 1}

One of my favorite things to do for the holidays is bake Christmas cookies.

Christmas Cookies 2011
Christmas Cookies 2011

Since I usually make probably 6-10 different kinds of cookies (some of them double batches), I thought that I would share what I do in preparation for making my yearly batch of Christmas cookies.

Throughout the year when I see recipes I set them aside. I follow a lot of bakers and food bloggers on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, so when I see something that would be a good Christmas cookie or that I should save for later I pin it.

My Pinterest board.  Find me HERE on Pinterest.
My Pinterest board, labeled “Christmas Cookies.” Find me HERE on Pinterest.

I then start making a list. Usually I list some of mine and my husband’s favorite Christmas cookies, the more traditional recipes I’ve become accustom to.  This is sort of just a brainstorm, so I list all the fun looking cookies I’d like to try from various sources. This includes any candies (caramels!), biscotti, fudge, and truffles along with the traditional cookie.

Then I look for similar recipes to narrow it down. Do I have 5 peanut butter based cookies? A whole bunch of different truffles? Do I want to make that many different kinds?  Usually the answer is no, unless I really like the said cookie or if I want to make strictly peanut butter theme or truffles. I then cross things off the list that I am not in love with making. The staples I like to make every year stay on the list.

Rough Christmas Cookie List
Rough Christmas Cookie List

Next, I look through all my cookie recipes and start figuring out all the ingredients.  Usually I have all the staples: flour, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, etc., buuut, will need more of these things.  It is usually easy to add anything like hershey’s kisses, peanut butter cups, various extracts that I might need (orange, mint, almond).  Some recipes use milk or cream, or something like egg whites, which all need to be added into the list. Typically I do overbuy a little bit, since any left over staples like flour or sugar I will use again, whether it be rolls, cookies, or breads. One year I think I really overbought bags of both flour and sugar, and it lasted me a very long time.  I would try not to do that again. Gauge it on what you have and what you think you’ll need. I usually will overbuy at least a little bit, so I don’t have to run out to the store in the middle of a recipe. I also pick up a ridiculous amount of butter, again that’s something that I will likely use often and won’t go to waste.

Another thing that I keep in mind is kitchen space. Counter space is crucial in this time. I do also like to have a clear and clean dining room table too for the baked cookies (stacking wire racks are awesome for this). It’s way easier to use the table and keep counter space open for everything else.  I try and keep this in mind throughout the week or so before I make cookies, so that if I have lot on the counter I can remove it and it doesn’t feel as much as a task or I don’t feel like everything is left until the last minute.

Obviously a lot of planning is involved in this process–Usually I try do bake all these cookies in one day.  If you decide that is something that you want to do, the best advice I can give you is to be prepared.  Not just planning all of these things, but mentally as well.  I have done this lots of times so it doesn’t faze me, but sometimes people who aren’t used to it have a hard time.  I don’t like to rush my cookie baking, or any baking for that matter, because I will mess it up.  Pace yourself, split it up between two days if you have to.  If not, you’ll be miserable.  A cookie baking marathon can take over 12 hours.

Are there any Christmas cookies you will be baking this year?

-M

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2 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip: Holiday Cookies {Part 1}

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