Friday, December 16th, 2011

15 Recipes for Your Enormous Christmas Cookie Tray!!!

They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it. But what happens when you have no intention of changing, even after admitting that you have a problem? Sure I have a problem, but I rather like my particular brand of lunacy. It results in things like what we’re going to discuss today and I think we can all agree that what comes from this dark place is something no one is going to object to. (TO WHICH NO ONE WILL OBJECT, FINE.)

So here goes with the admission, and oooooooh man, even by my standards this is bad: for a few years now I’ve wanted to try my hand at making a big ol' honkin’ Christmas Cookie Tray. You know the sort—like the ones you see all wrapped up in cellophane in the kind of Italian bakeries that sell rum baba and pink leaves? Oh the unholy things I’ve done to a rum baba in my day….

The thing is, I know I can do it—I know I can, daily affirmation, I can do this thing, I have untapped reserves of inner strength—because, in news that will shock exactly none of you, I come from a long line of Italian bakers. My mother’s people came to this country and opened a bakery in New Haven. Her grandfather even made her wedding cake. But—until now—the notion of putting together an entire cookie tray—we’re talking a dozen+ types of cookies that need to be coordinated so that the tray has something for everyone and offers an aesthetically pleasing array of colors and shapes and sizes and CUE FREAK OUT—was terribly overwhelming to me. Until now.

You might have had this fear as well. And you might have similar challenges: my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp; I’m not exactly the least busy gal on the planet; and this kind of thing takes time and space but mostly it takes organization.

But! Organization is one area in which I truly shine. (Friends have recoiled in shock when I’ve opened my refrigerator to reveal the perfectly arranged items inside. I never miss a meeting or forget an engagement. My junk drawer is tidy. This is my handbag.)

Perhaps you are not so organized. So I did for you what any dementedly organized baker would do and I made a spreadsheet detailing exactly what I would put on the perfect cookie tray, and all the attendant details that go along. And it’s… I just… I think I’m going to let it speak for itself, okay.

Or view and even print from right here!

If you need me, I’ll be sitting in the corner rocking myself back and forth. In a perfectly linear manner.

Jolie Kerr wants to know about your favorite holiday cookie recipes. Tell us in the comments!

Photo by "Samdogs."

26 Comments / Post A Comment

wallsdonotfall (#6,378)

I actually woke up this morning from a dream in which someone had laid out precisely what cookie recipes I should make for Christmas presents. I am proud to see that prophecy fulfilled. First, I think, will be the pignoli.

By the way, I made your maple blondies three times around Thanksgiving and every single batch was devoured by coworkers and elderly male relatives. They were perfect, thank you.

Vicky (#7,168)

YES I have been badgering boyfriend about making xmas cookies. The only cookie cutters we have a shaped like states, though. Which cookies are New York-y and which would be good Floridas?

oudemia (#177)

Oh, man, pignoli cookies. The smooshy anise-y ones?

jolie (#16)

@oudemia The pignolis I make are the smooshy almond ones – the seed cookies are the anise-y ones. I actually have my great-great grandfather's recipe for pignoli cookies, which in our family are called North End Cookies for the North End of New Haven (as opposed to the one in Boston where I lived) where the family bakery was. I'll ask my mom if it's something I'm allowed to publish, and also see if I can get my paws on the ole timey photos we have of the brothers peddling the baking wagon!! They're black and white photos, obvs, but apparently our people were red-headed Italians [insert Livia Soprano "Oh Northern" sniff here] and one of them had a red handlebar mustache. lakshflkshlkhglk!!!

My people were the original hipsters!

Don't Panic (#12,659)

@jolie, I would love (love love love) that recipe if your family is willing to part with it. And I hate to bring this up, but, I think you forgot the rainbow cookies….

jolie (#16)

@Don't Panic I didn't forget it – I left it off because I'm TERRIFIED of making rainbow cookies and also seriously they are my FAVORITE EVER and if I made them (or learned how to make them) I would eat ALL OF THE RAINBOWS and I would be so ENORMOUS that I wouldn't fit in my postage stamp-sized apartment.

Will one of the other half-bakers PLEASE write the recipe for rainbow cookies for people with a number of fear issues to work through?????

Don't Panic (#12,659)

@jolie I am a pretty accomplished baker but I, too, am intimidated by rainbow cookies. However, I have an inside source for them because my mother-not-quite-in-law is THE BEST RAINBOW COOKIE BAKER ON THE PLANET. Seriously, people die for these things – they are better than anything you have ever had in a bakery (or possibly anything you have ever eaten ever?). And she is a machine when it comes to making them – trays and trays of them like it's no big thing (along with about a million other cookies on her perfect cookie platters). She's shown me the process before but I've always left the baking in her more than capable hands. Maybe I'll ask for the recipe, face my fears and and see what happens.

oudemia (#177)

@jolie Oh, it would be awesome if you could publish the pix (and the recipe!). — your sister in descent from ginger-headed Italians

rina (#3,230)

My friend and I spent the weekend making Christmas cookies for the Big Trays. We made over 500 cookies. The pignolis were the big hit, but we did the math and between the pine nuts and the almond paste we figured they cost 60 cents each. Expensive little fuckers.

allyzay (#321)

There are no mexican chocolate, mexican wedding OR merangues on your tray: I declare your tray invalid. Also you need a separate tray of chocolate chip cookies, for santa. I recommend not using the recipe on the package which is how everyone does this all the time, by the way, and (surprise, I think?) use a recipe I found in Achewood. The comic strip. About cartoon cats. I can't find them online but they are called 12-step Chocolate Chip Cookies and are literally the best.

jolie (#16)

@allyzay You passed out during your own holiday party: I declare your opinions on Christmas celebrations invalid, lightweight.

And I've got Santa's God damned chocolate chip cookie recipe right here.

allyzay (#321)

@jolie I told everyone up front that party ended at 1am!

laurel (#4,035)

Because nothing says Christmas like a spreadsheet.

(I do exactly this with seed purchases in January. <3)

SeanP (#4,058)

@laurel lol, me too! It's almost time to spend some quality time with the Park Seed catalog and Excel.

mae (#6,538)

Oh thank heavens, I'm not the only one who does shit like this! BUT YOU FORGOT THE OVEN TEMPERATURE COLUMN

Pignoli Cookies?!?!? YOU MONSTER.

jolie (#16)

@Clarence Rosario I put the pistachio cookies in there just to piss off Balk.

solidgold (#194,530)

Jolie you are my hero.

pyrrhic (#3,065)


iplaudius (#1,066)

@pyrrhic I'm hoping it's either Libby's or Lucibello's!!

clairapluie (#4,879)

Easy, tasty cookies:
1. Get some sugar cookies. They will taste better if you make them yourself but you can get ready-made dough. Bake. Take out cookies.
2. Mix sifted powdered sugar with the citrus juice of your choice (I mostly do lemon but you could do orange or grapefruit I guess) and mix until it turns into a glaze-y mixture. Cover cookies.
3. Eat all of them.

beerd (#194,051)

Holy Shit. Move in with me? I mean, don't, because I am not neat, and disaster would ensue, but…put me in your life in a cookie-eating and admiring capacity. Which circle of friendship do I have to attain? I will win a level four amulet. I will buy flour.

SeanP (#4,058)

Sounds great, but… each of those recipes makes 2 or 3 dozen cookies. Don't you wind up with about 5 trays of cookies?

Cake pops are garbage. GARBAGE.

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