Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Cookie Know How

Every year at Christmas time I go into cookie mode. I love to give ribbon wrapped boxes of cookies to friends and family. In order for that to happen, I actually start Thanksgiving weekend. Over the years I have developed a system to make hundreds of cookies that look challenging to make. In actuality, however, making mass quantities of beautiful Christmas cookies is easier than one would think.

My first tip to making the cookies is to find a great recipe. Easier said than done? Nope. Martha Stewart is the queen of cookies. Her cookbooks, website, , & magazines all have cookie recipes. Every Christmas she comes out with either a cookie magazine or a holiday baking magazine. This year, however, Martha partnered up with the new Apple IPAD to have a cookie recipe application featuring recipes as well as videos. The recipe for the chewy coconut chocolate pinwheel cookie is one of my favorite Martha Stewart recipes.

My next tip for mass production of Christmas cookies is to make all the dough first. When I make the spiral cookies I make 4 or 5 batches separately of all of the white part of the dough first. This aids in not having to wash & clean out your bowl after each batch. After rolling it out into the rectangle, I stack them up and refrigerate until I am ready to make the fudge to pour in the center (with these cookies, never use chocolate chips. The fudge will be lumpy instead of smooth). I make 1 batch of the fudge at a time, and then roll up each roll to let set for the night. Following this routine makes it easy to cut and cook the next day.

My next favorite Christmas cookie comes from Ina Garten. It is the jam thumbprint cookie. Again, making 4 or 5 batches of dough is easy, chilling over night, and then baking the next day. To get my cookies to come out uniform, I weigh each ball on a digital scale. Each one should be
1 oz. Good French jam is the best in the jam thumbprint. Bonne Maman's raspberry is a good flavor, and it is easy to find in almost any grocery store. Ina rolls hers in coconut, but I have found that coarse sugar makes these cookies sparkle.

After baking my cookies I let them cool completely and then I put them in freezer bags to freeze. The day I put my boxes together, I let the cookies thaw out before loading into a wax paper lined box. Williams-Sonoma has cookie and candy boxes along with personalized ribbon during the holidays. The best time to buy these items is AFTER the holidays when they go on sale. Then you don't have to spend extra money on a beautiful package.

The best tip I really have, is to have lots of fun with it! Once you find a recipe put it in a card or computer file so you can make it next year. Happy baking!


Jackie said...

Oh, my. I was feeling bad about my Christmas cookie failings already and then I stumbled upon THIS! Impressive!

Tamsen Burk Reid said...

Thanks so much Jackie! It is something I really enjoy doing.

Gotham Girls said...

these were delicious at christmas, send some to nyc!