Around this time of year, many people are making cookies for their family, for work, for parties, for gifts, etc. How to get through it all without staying up until 2am? Here are my tips because now I don’t stay up until 2 in the morning anymore!
1. If you need to make a lot of cookie dough in a short amount of time, take gallon size ziplock bags and label them by cookie recipe. Then fill each of them with the dry ingredients so that all you have to do is cream your butter and sugar, then dump your dry ingredients (typically flour, baking soda and/or baking powder, salt, maybe cocoa powder). When I had a ton of cookies to do I would even include a bag of pre-measured sugar.
2. If you have more time, the best way to make a lot of cookies in a little amount of time is to make each cookie dough and freeze the cookie dough balls. I use this a lot for any butter-based, non-cakey cookie such as chocolate chip, peanut butter, shortbread, Mexican wedding cookies, etc.
To Freeze your Cookie Dough Balls: scoop balls of cookie dough onto silicone liner or parchment. Pop in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Or if you’re like me you’ll forget its even in there and pull it out the next day. Then, take your frozen balls and toss them into a gallon size freezer bag. Put in the freezer until ready for use. This also helps when your family wants cookies, but you don’t want 36 of them sitting in the kitchen to tempt you. Freeze up to 3 months.
To Freeze your Brownies: do this AFTER they have been baked. Wrap twice with cling wrap and then once with foil.
3. Make a list of all your ingredients ahead of time. This may seem like a no-brainer. However, running out of something as simple as butter is a big pain when trying to create a lot of cookies at once. Make sure to also stock up on flour, sugar, cocoa powder and brown sugar. Best price right now is at Aldi for $2/lb. Even Costco charges more. Schnucks and Target now are selling Philly Cream Cheese for $1.50 for 8 oz. I know Aldi sells their cream cheese for 89 cents each, but it just never gets as creamy and smooth like the Philly brand. Rose Levy Beranbaum says so also and she wrote the Cake Bible, so I believe her.
4. Leave any candy making for last because you can’t freeze candy. However, it does stay fresh for 1-2 weeks.
5. Make sure to seal any goodies air tight or you will lose flavor and texture.
6. Have some pretty boxes on hand. This past year I have seen an explosion in gift boxes for cookies. I have been buying Martha Stewart’s cookie boxes for 3-4 years now. Wilton, King Arthur and some other companies have jumped on the bandwagon as well. Using a Michael’s 40% off coupon makes these less expensive than other ones I’ve seen. Wilton is about the same price, but you don’t get as many.
Have fun and try not to stay up until 2:00a.m. like I used to! 🙂