Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Now What?

So what does nearly 2000 cookies look like? 

All cookies, all the time. At least from October to December.

Yup, that's my freezer.  And yes it is full of cookies (well, there might be a frozen pizza in there somewhere).  And what does one do with them all?

Well, clearly, you eat them.  But first, you have to pack them up in pretty tins and trays and share them with your friends and family. Everyone loves a homemade gift and my friends and family are no exception.  They anticipate the cookies each holiday.  I've even gotten Christmas cards early in the season with notes telling me how much the sender is eagerly awaiting the arrival of their cookie tin.

I started picking up tins on clearance after Christmas.  These things can be expensive and the whole point of a homemade gift is to fill it with time and love, not oodles of money.  So I'd store them until the next round of holidays.  Then I joked with people that if they gave their tin back, it was a guaranteed refill the following year.  So now not only do people give me their tins back within days, but they'll also find me new tins and send them me throughout the year.  Or they'll wait until they have a stockpile, and give me three or four years worth of tins at once.  It's funny, because I never intended to get the tins back--it's not like I won't give someone cookies because they wanted to keep their tins.  But alas, this is how it's come to be.  And how I ended up with this pile in my basement:

I lost track of how many I have.

And just to deceive you, there are tins hiding inside tins hiding inside tins.

I have a very organized process for filling the tins.  It starts with figuring out which tin each person gets.  I put everyone's name on a sticky note and start sorting the tins, looking for the right size, shape and design for the receiver.

These are just the tins for the first batch.

Once all the tins have been sorted and labeled, I then move onto the cookies.  Using a list of all the cookies I made, I grab the cookies from the freezer and spread them out on the kitchen table and counters.  There isn't a specific order but I do arrange the cookies so I can make a loop around the kitchen.  And I usually pack the tin with the flatter cookies on the bottom (Gingerbread, Sugar Cut-Outs) and the more delicate or soft cookies on top (White Chocolate Coconut, Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip).  Depending on the tin and how many people are sharing it, I may put one of each cookie, three of each cookie, or only focus on the flavors I know someone likes.  And I pay attention to allergies, so my friend who can't have strawberries didn't get any Banana Split cookies in her tin, and my father-in-law won't get any Hotel cookies due to his walnut allergy.

Seventeen different kinds on the kitchen table.

Seven more on the counter and flattop stove. (Yes, this is one of the reasons I like my flattop.)

Once a tin is packed with cookies, I top it with a piece of waxed paper or parchment to act as a cushion during shipping.  Hand delivered tins usually don't get this (I've been told it "just gets in the way").  I don't always tape the lid shut, but occasionally I will if the tin is particularly full, finicky or the shipping box is questionable.

Who wouldn't want to get this in the mail?

For shipping, Dave is a big help, making sure to use boxes that are pretty close in size and well cushioned with packing peanuts, foam or air pockets.  I've also used bunched up plastic grocery bags. 

The alternative to the cookie tin is the cookie tray, which I save for when I give the cookies as a gift at a party or when they are my contribution to a party. The theory is the same, get a cute tray and load it up. I like to make concentric circles, with the bigger cookies overflowing the edges and the smaller ones piled high in the middle.  For a little extra fun, I'll throw on some candy as well. Either my homemade fudge or wrapped Hershey's Kisses, Reese's Cups, or something else I have on hand.

Prepped for a Christmas party this past weekend.

However you share your cookies--in tins, trays, or even zip-top bags--your friends will love them and appreciate your kindness.  My cookies started to arrive in mailboxes yesterday and the phone was ringing nonstop with holiday wishes and thanks.  And once you've finished up, make sure you grab a few for yourself and cuddle up with a big glass of milk.  Hey, someone has to test them for Santa.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess


  1. I love your blog! How long can cookies stay in the freezer without going bad?

  2. Hi Chelsea! Thanks. I've had cookies in the freezer for up to six months. They won't go bad, as in spoil, but after that time, they just aren't going to be as good when defrosted. Be careful with any glazed or frosted cookies. I only keep glazed cookies in the freezer for about 4 to 6 weeks, and frosted cookies I tend to bake, freeze, and then frost when I'm ready to use them.

  3. I just finished reading your entire blog. I too live in MA(western). I have an upright freezer with I fill with triple batches of at least 25 varieties, sometimes more. I have been doing this for30 years and with my mom before that. I just love it! You go girl. Thx for the great read and I even picked up a few new ones!

    1. Thanks Tracey! I'm touched that you looked so closely at everything. I love that you're carrying on a family tradition. I hope to pass it on in my family some day.

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