Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Things I learned baking 30 dozen cookies in 24 hours...

So I decided to bake cookies for my friends this Christmas. I thought 'excellent idea Jamie, you can take pictures for your blog and make an entry or two about them'. Then the reality set in. If you decide to bake cookies for your friends, then your going to have to make a fair number of them. In my case I needed to make enough to fill one dozen cookie tins. Now making cookies isn't much of an issue for me as I quite enjoy the process and the result; however I wasn't aware how it becomes different when your baking multiple batches of several varieties. So in this post I submit a few points of advice for those of you planning on baking cookies en mass.
  • Drop cookies are your friends! The mixing of ingredients can take some time, but you gain time in how fast you can setup cookie trays for the oven. Good drop cookies include peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.
  • Beware the simplicity of shortbread. It's one of the simplest recipes out there, however preparing each cookie takes time and patience. Generally one rolls out cooled dough on to a cutting board then uses a cookie cutter to form each cookie. The tricky part is not tearing the cookie as you remove it from the batter, then repeating this many dozens of times.
  • Alcohol is your friend! You can make a center piece to your cookie arrangements by making one special batch of alcohol laced cookies - these are of course only for adults :) I recommend making Rum or Whiskey balls. You can put a handful inside of a small re-sealable container so that the aroma is retained. See my chocolate rum balls for an example.
  • Pick out your containers carefully. Those nice looking 16" tins can hold 3 or 4 dozen cookies each. Try for the 8 or 10" tins, they hold about 12 to 18 cookies - this is important in that one batch of cookies can generally fill two tins instead of just one.
I suppose the important thing to take away from this experience is that you really need to think ahead when taking on a project of this size. I know that next year this will be much easier if I follow my own advice ;)