I adore making cookies. No matter what my situation was, every Christmas, I made cookies. I've done it when dirt poor by begging friends for flour and sugar and eggs (most were happy to barter in exchange for a small platter of their own). I've done it when recovering from pneumonia. I've done it while trying to be 100% strict paleo (that… ended less well). Cookies happen before the tree, before shopping is done, before we've hung the stockings. Cookies are Christmas.
It is cookie time again, and I'm practically skipping around the house, getting ready. This year, I'm making:
- Chocolate chip cookies (because duh)
- Sugar cookies with a mess of icing on top
- Chocolate crinkles
- Potato candy
- Oatmeal bars
- Dream bars
People always get a big bug-eyed when they see my list. It's not as big a deal as it seems, though. Given a clean kitchen, a box of supplies, and a pot of coffee, I can get these done in a day.
Have a Plan
Every year, I run over the recipes again. Some have to be chilled for at least an hour. Others have to be cooked immediately. Some ingredients have to be warmed before they can be used, while others need to be cold.
I tend do the ones that need to be chilled first, then knock out the ones that need to be done right away. Bars I do last, because that's about the time I run out of steam, and they don't require anything beyond 'leave on the counter until cool, and the fucks have been restocked.' This is the order I usually end up doing them in:
- Sugar cookies (mix)
- Chocolate crinkles (mix)
- Buckeyes (make and freeze)
- Chocolate chip cookies (make)
- Sugar cookies (make)
- Chocolate crinkles (make)
- Dream bars (make)
- Potato candy (make)
- Oatmeal bars (make)
- Buckeyes (coat)
They all share ingredients, too, so I tally up how much I'm going to need of each. Yes, I have a spreadsheet for this. People make fun of me for this every year, but you know what? I don't run out flour or sugar or eggs.
Print shit out
I don't bother with cookbooks. I mean, I'll use them, but when I find a recipe I like, I put it in Google Docs. That way, I can print it out and not worry about screwing up the cookbook. As heartwarming as some people find books caked with flour and salt and batter, they make my stomach churn.
I print out all the recipes and tape them to the wall and fridge (yes, our stupid fridge doesn't use magnets so we have to use tape). I use a font big enough to see from across the room, because running back and forth across the kitchen, even a small one, can wear you out after a full day. Trust me, I decided to be stubborn one year and printed out everything at 12pt font. I was ready to fall over by one.
Kick out the other cooks
There is one person in the world I can cook with, and that's because she knew to get the fuck out of my way. I've tried to cook with kids in the kitchen or my husband, and usually, something ends up getting burned or forgotten.
If I'm just cranking out one batch of cookies for a bake sale, come on in. If I'm trying to get twenty-six dozen cookies and bars out of my non-professional kitchen in one day? GET. OUT.
And once it's all done…
Once the cookies are freezing and the bars are cut and the dishes are cleaned up and the trash is taken out?
Time to wine the hell up with a plate of awesome cookies.