Here’s a picture of last year’s cookie box. It takes some planning to create this. I’ll let you in on my planning secrets. I have been thinking this over for days. It takes two full weeks to get holiday cookies and candies made, packed and mailed. And it takes a huge number of lists. In fact, I have a little book I use just for this purpose.
First, I thumb through my favorite resources for cookies and make a list of everything I want to make. This is the hardest part. I’m seduced by new flavors, but my friends and family are traditionalists and want the same ones year after year. I swap out two, maybe three, cookies every year. Someone is always sad that their favorite was excluded. You can’t please everyone…
This magazine by Martha Stewart was purchased at the grocery store in 2005 and I have made nearly every cookie in there. Each is perfect. The recipes are well written. There are some cookies that are “projects” and others that are easy.
This lovely book from Gourmet just came out. I already have more than a dozen of these recipes in my files, and can’t wait to try the others. Over the years, Martha and Gourmet have had the most consistently tested, perfected recipes. I’ve come to rely on them.
Then, I make another list of recipients – family, friends, neighbors. Couples receive 2 of each cookie. Family boxes are packed with one cookie for each family member. (Is there a dog? I’ll send dog biscuits, too!) My hairdresser, mail-lady, UPS guy, garden crew all are handed bags of cookies. And then there are the cookie swaps – one in NYC for bloggers, and one here for Food52’ers. And let’s not forget a few dozen just to serve here at the house when friends drop in for the holidays. Count the total number of cookies you’ll need. Decide which recipes need to be doubled. Some recipes can be extended by making the cookies smaller. One or two bite size is better for packing and shipping, especially if you are making many types.
Last year, I made 120 dozen cookies. This year, there might be a few more.
I know – just a little nutty. I love the holidays. And I really love cookies.
Once you’ve selected your cookies and determined how many of each you will need, print out all the recipes and start to count out pounds of butter, ounces of chocolate, pints of cream, and eggs.
If it helps, you can start with this list. I shop at Costco, Trader Joe’s, the grocery store, King Arthur, Sur La Table, the Container Store and Michaels Crafts:
raisins and other dried fruit
vanilla, almond, peppermint extract
peppermint candies or candy canes
decorations (sprinkles, sanding sugar, etc.)
mini and regular muffin cups (for packing)
candy wrappers (if needed)
Do some shopping and come back here tomorrow as I bake my way to the 15th, and the big mailing day. In the meantime, here are links to some cookie posts from last year. The photos are so small – aren’t you glad the blog was redesigned? I am.
Sometime in the midst of all this, I’ll be trimming the tree, too. Ho Ho Ho!