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Everyone has their family favorites when it comes to Christmas cookies. I am an avid baker, but even I get overwhelmed at the idea of making all the varieties of cookies that my family has come to expect at Christmas. And that’s not even mentioning the things that I make for gifts!
Years ago, when we moved back to Minnesota, I was blessed to be invited to join a group of ladies for a day of cookie baking. Everyone brought ingredients to make one or two kinds. We made them all together, then we divided them up. So we each went home with a huge variety. Genius!
Over the years, the group of ladies has changed somewhat, as has the location. I’m the current host (you must know how much I love hosting gatherings).
Cookie Baking Day
We plan our day for the first Saturday after Thanksgiving weekend. (Not the Saturday right after Thanksgiving…the following weekend.)
Everybody has one or two recipes that they bring all the ingredients for, and we spend the day collectively making them. We usually seem to have a pretty even split of cookies that need to be baked and others that just need dipping and decorating.
Here are some things we do to make the day run smoothly:
- Everybody pre-mixes their cookie dough at home, so all we need to do is scoop and bake.
- A couple of people choose to make one of their cookie recipes at home to free up time for helping others.
- We bake all cookies on parchment paper, so the sheets can be slid off in our “cooling area” (tables in my garage) and pans can be re-used. (Dipped items are all placed on wax paper to set up).
- Everyone brings a roll of wax paper or parchment paper (depending on what their cookies need).
- I cover tables with Dollar Store plastic tablecloths for easy clean-up.
We work our way through a few recipes at a time, sipping coffee (or tea), and chatting, with a background of Christmas music. I make a crock-pot full of soup that we take a break to enjoy around lunchtime. This year I made crock pot lasagna soup….yum!
After everything is baked, dipped, decorated and cooled it’s time to distribute.
We all get out our containers (Gladware, Tupperware, Ziploc Bags, Grandma’s tins…) and we go through the varieties of Christmas cookies one at a time, filling our containers.
Some people take less of a particular variety due to their family’s preference. We’ve never had any go un-taken, let me assure you!
Then we all go home, flour dusted and white chocolate spotted, to share the bounty with our waiting family. My guys are always excited for the “Cookie Tour” in which I show them all the varieties we made.
Over the years, we’ve developed a list of “must-haves” (determined mainly by the complaints of family members the years we skipped certain items –the year without peanut butter balls was a low point).
But we also have fun trying new recipes. Some stay in the rotation for a couple of years and then fade away, others are “once is enough” recipes.
(One year, I sat at a card table all day, meticulously decorating each white chocolate dipped Oreo like a snowman…only to be told that people picked off the candy before they ate them. Now, we do a generous dousing with sprinkles and call it a day!)
Whether through word of mouth or a Facebook event page, we keep track of what everyone is going to make to be sure we don’t double up.
There were seven of us this year. Here’s what we made:
- Triple Layer Mint Brownies
- Peanut Butter Balls
- Butterscotch Cornflake No-Bakes
- White Chocolate Dipped Oreos
- Cookies and Cream Cookies
- Oreo Truffles (yes…we see the Oreo trend, and we don’t mind!)
- Cookie Dough Truffles
- Salted Caramel Cookies
- Russian Pryaniki (a spiced, honey cookie)
- Caramel Puff Corn
- Raspberry Pinwheels
- Maple Iced Oatmeal Cookies
- Soft Almond Sugar Cookies
- Ginger-doodles (a mashup of 1/2 snickerdoodles and 1/2 gingersnaps)
- Peppermint Bark
Not a bad haul, huh?!
What are your favorite Christmas cookies?