Holiday Cookie Time!

Last Updated November 01, 2013
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Holiday Cookie Time

I’m an incorrigible recipe clipper and filer, and my files of cookie recipes clipped out of newspapers and magazines are by far the largest of my collection. I date them when I make them, write notes on them if I change something, and whether they were a huge success or only OK. (If they don’t please me, the recipe gets tossed immediately.)

I have more cookie cookbooks than any other kind and there is nothing more fun to me on a blustery day than sitting down with a pot of tea and perusing my options for the next party.

For years now, I’ve held an annual winter soup and stew party. While the soups are a lot of fun, I confess it is really the cookies that get my kitchen juices fl owing. I started the soup party as way to make holiday entertaining easier, and I started with four kinds of cookies, figuring that was more than enough variety. But these days I spend way more time planning the cookie platters — making sure chocolate, fruit, chewy, crunchy, rustic, fancy, round, rectangle and any other way cookies can be produced are all well represented.

I make at least 12 kinds for the party and as gifts, with only a few that I repeat each year. (One friend and I agree that chocolate chip cookies, while indeed a food gift from the gods, are not Christmas cookies.) There are just so many gorgeous and delicious-sounding cookies that I want to try. If I live 50 more years I’ll never get to make and eat all the cookie recipes I have my eye on.

Cookie dough is such a gift to a party-giver — you can make and freeze the dough days or weeks in advance. Baking them the day before or day of the party makes the house smell great and starts relaxing me before the guests arrive.

The recipes I’ve selected here are tried and true — a nice selection for your next party — and I have a feeling that once you try these, next year you’ll be looking for more recipes yourself.

SOME NOTES to make your cookie- baking time more enjoyable if you really plan to get industrious about it:

  • Stock up on parchment paper and use it — you can load a second piece of parchment before the first batch of cookies has come out of the oven, and you don’t have to wait for the cookie sheet to cool — or wash it between batches. Just slip one parchment of baked cookies off and the loaded one on, then back into the oven.
  • Have a lot of small silicone scraper spatulas on hand and two sets of measuring cups and spoons.
  • A microplane for zesting citrus is a kitchen tool I cannot live without.

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