Classic Cookies Dressed Up As Holiday Gifts
Home-baked gifts beat anything store-bought, internet-shopped, or from a catalog, because home baking is a way to show the lucky recipients how much they mean to you. Your cookies will be remembered long after the last bite has been savored and the holiday decorations packed away for another year.
Snappy Ginger Cookies, Almond Cookies, and Chocolate Chip Cookies are three classics that family and friends on your holiday gift list will love. One or all three of these recipes are great gifts.
But why not take it all the way to festive by packing cookies in hand-decorated boxes? Or stack freshly baked treats in crinkly cellophane bags, ribbon-tied and presented with your own customized gift tag.
Holiday gift baking involves good planning. The steps are not hard, but having a successful baking day means following one rule that professionals follow. Be organized. And always start and finish with a clean kitchen!
Read the recipes over a few times to familiarize yourself with what’s required and make sure you’ve answered any questions you have before you start. By the way, each recipe can be doubled. Organize shopping lists. When putting together your list of ingredients, add up the total amount of flour, butter, eggs, sugars, chocolate chips, gingers, baking soda, baking powder, and other ingredients that you’ll need. Add a little extra in case you need bake-overs. Shop as early in the season as you can because at that time of year you won’t be the only baker buying cookie ingredients.
Most importantly, make sure you plan enough time to complete your baking. There is nothing worse than running out of time before you’ve finished.
Consider gathering teams of friends or family to help you bake, decorate, and fill the gift boxes or bags. Then at the end of the day divide the finished holiday cookies with your team members. Baking together is a great way to get everyone in the holiday spirit.
One of the things I always loved as a kid was that first sign of the holidays when my mother would begin baking with her sisters. Holiday baking took a firm hold of my mother around this time of year. I wanted to be right in the middle of it! Instead I’d be sitting in school. I counted the minutes until the bell would buzz me out. I would race home and open the kitchen door.
What I’d been waiting for all day then surrounded me — the delicate aroma of fresh-baked cookies.
I still remember my mother in the middle of it all. Flour-flecked, apron-wrapped, and dashing back and forth from station to station making sure it was all working smoothly. Every available inch of space in our kitchen was taken over by cookies in one stage or another. It was an assembly line. Cookies being rolled out, cookies being filled and shaped, cookies baking, cookies cooling, and finished cookies waiting to be packed. Cookies everywhere!
My mother kept her cookies in a variety of large and cookie tins, assorted boxes, and even an empty potato chip can! She had to hide her cookies each year. There were five of us kids, and we’d go hunting high and low to find each year’s secret place. We were foolish enough to think we’d sneak some cookies out ahead of the official release date. My mother always outsmarted us.
At my house, baking was serious work. I knew to be extremely careful and not to get in the way. I hoped to be rewarded with just one cookie. A crumb might have done, but my mother would hand me a still-warm cookie.
“How is the flavor this year, son?” my mother would ask. With a mouth full of cookie, all I could do was nod vigorously, grin, and just keep chewing.
I knew I was the luckiest kid in all Detroit. Today was baking day!
There are many great sources online for boxes and gift wraps for baked goods. Here are just a few to get you started: