So, taking advantage of having a kitchen of my very own (moved into my own place earlier this year!), I wanted to bake as many types of Christmas cookies as possible, in a span of two days, just before Christmas. My intent was to bring as many different cookie combinations to my boyfriend's family for when we stayed with them for the holiday. Well, thanks to Pinterest, I found at least one dozen recipes that I wanted to make! Due to a last minute babysitting gig (love my two-year-old niece to pieces!) I couldn't start baking until 5pm 12/23. I didn't want to start baking any earlier because I wanted all of the cookies as fresh as possible. I used to work in a bakery, so I know what it's like to bake 1000 cookies in a span of four hours, but I don't have those kind of OVEN capabilities, so I did the best with what I had! A last minute trip to Target to purchase additional cookie sheets allowed for me to make multiple batches of cookies at once, at the ready when the timer went off!
I began with Peppermint White Chocolate Chip Cookies from my Pinterest Christmas Food board list of select printed recipes (I have 100+ pins on there, so I had to be choosey!). After I created the base of the cookies, I realized they could be refrigerated for ease of use. Since my goal was to complete as many cookies as possible, I figured I could create several doughs for different cookies, refrigerating them after each was complete, so that I could do a major bake-off the following day (Christmas Eve). This may seem like a rookie discovery, but I haven't actually attempted to create close to a dozen cookie recipe types in one "sitting" (I worked from 5pm-11pm standing the entire time -- all part of the fun, right?!)
My next project was creating the dough for Colorful Spiral Cookies (or Pinwheels, as I've seen them titled elsewhere). This dough needed to be refrigerated for at least two hours, so while the "log" dough was firming up (minds out of the gutter, ladies! ;) I moved onto Holiday Snickerdoodle cookie dough creation with the intent to complete (and BAKE) them before quitting for the night! The main prep besides mixing up the batter was rolling the balls of dough in red and green sugar before placing them on the baking trays-- easy enough!
Since my baking sheets were new, and I hadn't used my oven much for baking prior to this cookie sweep, I wasn't really sure how the cookies were going to come out. Unfortunately, I "burned" the first batch, but since I ended up with nearly six dozen cookies, having 10 or so throw-aways wasn't so bad. Plus, I learned immediately what temperatures, timing, and such worked best with my new pans and my fairly new oven.
By this point it was close to 11pm. I had created several doughs, baked off one type, and while I THOUGHT I was going to actually bake MORE that evening, it didn't happen that way. I decided to leave the rest for completion the following day.
Christmas Eve Morn'
I woke up at 11am (I'm a night owl, folks, and I don't have children yet!) ready to get my baking done before heading to my parents' for Christmas Eve dinner (I'll save that scrumptious menu for another post!) at 6pm. Plenty of time to create and bake 6 more doughs in addition to the 4 I had waiting in the fridge, right? Ha!
My first recipe of the day was the Butterscotch Molasses Pudding Cookie recipe. This one stained my hands, but quickly washed away with a good scrubbing. As the recipe suggests, I DID add the butterscotch chips to the dough, which was a definite plus! As that dough was refrigerating with the others, I began contemplating my next cookie selection...
Though I wasn't sure what dough to prep at this point, I thought it may be good to start BAKING what I had already prepared. Since I had taken all of the doughs out of the fridge to soften when I started at 11am, I was able to work with the dough at this point.
I decided to start with the Peppermint White Chocolate Chip Cookies... Since the slightly nagging thought of having too much mint was a possibility, I switched out the peppermint crunch for red and green M&Ms with white chocolate chips. If you read the recipe, you'll notice that the author of the post didn't actually say to ADD the chips or crunch within the recipe (to me, dry ingredients include the flour, sugar, baking soda, cornstarch, etc, NOT chips - those are usually mentioned afterwards in my experience). Regardless of the fact I hadn't added them the night before, since the dough was soft, I was able to knead the white chocolate chips and M&Ms into the dough with ease before baking.
While those were heating up, I began to prep Chocolate Caramel Christmas Cookies. For those of you with a sweet-tooth (like me!) these really hit the spot! They're a cinch to make, as well, which is always a plus. My main issue was the fact that I'd printed out the recipes sans the IMAGES, so some of the cookies I was creating, I ended up guessing what they should look like based on the instructions. The chocolate caramel cookies were one of those "guesses" - which is obvious from how mine turned out versus the lovely picture I'd pinned previously :)
At this point, I had baked off six types of cookies, and knew I wouldn't have time to complete the others I'd anticipated making. Although disappointed, I knew I would have enough treats made for both large family gatherings we'd be attending. I decided that my final cookie creation would be the Red Velvet Milky Way Cake Cookies and they did NOT disappoint. Simple to mix, mold, and bake, I had just enough time to clean the kitchen and get ready for dinner!
I should probably mention at this point that I had not tried ANY of the cookies I baked prior to delivery, with the exception of ONE from the first "burned" batch of snickerdoodles (even those were good!). I had NOT tried any of these recipes at all prior to deciding to bake them, either. They looked pretty on Pinterest, and I thought, "Hey, why not?!" I had my boyfriend help with packaging them up, and (with my fingers crossed) brought them our respective families! I started baking at age 8 with my mom, so I've been doing this for years, BUT, it's always taking a chance with new recipes... My family is pretty picky to boot, so I had a lot going against me from the start, but I had faith that all would turn out well.
Here are some of the pictures from my adventures!
The cookies were enjoyed by ALL! Even the picky types were all over these babies. My cookies made it all the way to a CBS-Boston news anchor courtesy of my boyfriend's dad (who is the Lighting Director at the station). Apparently he had brought several cookies into the station during work and there was a frenzy over who would get some of his cookie stash. Turns out the crew was semi-upset that my boyfriend's father gave an on-air personality a cookie and NOT them... *sigh* I am going to bake up the additional cookies I was unable to complete prior to Christmas for him to bring back to the station on Friday. I hope several on-air personalities get some this time around ;)