Categories: world

Lessons from bouncing 5000 holiday cookies

Photo: Kate Kulzick The week after Thanksgiving should be a time of rest and recovery, some glorious days respite before the second wave of holiday craze crashes. Not so in my family. Every year my mom takes up a task with Herculean proportions: baking, boxing and delivering dozens of Christmas cookies care packages. This year we made 40 years. Tradition began in 201 1 or 2010 reports vary – when we decided to revive our long past tradition to make a handful of seasonal favorites to give out to friends and family. A wise person would have begun small, just a few parties. A careful person would have added one or two recipes at a time. I enter receptive research with the enthusiasm of a Labrador puppy, much to my mother's chagrin, and for a long time we had an introductory Christmas pie-a-thon recipe list of over 20 types of cookies. The list has changed over the years, but the spirit remains the same, and we have been vacationers since then. You can not make so many cookies for so long without getting a tip or two. Here's what I've learned. Scandanavian Almond Bars, long a family favorite and often the first recipe to disappear from the common plates Photo: Kate Kulzick 1. It must be fun Christmas cake on this scale is hard work! It requires huge focus and attention to detail and, oh, it's expensive. It must be worth it. Choose recipes that you love and are happy…

Photo: Kate Kulzick

The week after Thanksgiving should be a time of rest and recovery, some glorious days respite before the second wave of holiday craze crashes. Not so in my family. Every year my mom takes up a task with Herculean proportions: baking, boxing and delivering dozens of Christmas cookies care packages. This year we made 40 years.

Tradition began in 201

1 or 2010 reports vary – when we decided to revive our long past tradition to make a handful of seasonal favorites to give out to friends and family. A wise person would have begun small, just a few parties. A careful person would have added one or two recipes at a time. I enter receptive research with the enthusiasm of a Labrador puppy, much to my mother’s chagrin, and for a long time we had an introductory Christmas pie-a-thon recipe list of over 20 types of cookies. The list has changed over the years, but the spirit remains the same, and we have been vacationers since then.

You can not make so many cookies for so long without getting a tip or two. Here’s what I’ve learned.


Scandanavian Almond Bars, long a family favorite and often the first recipe to disappear from the common plates Photo: Kate Kulzick

1. It must be fun

Christmas cake on this scale is hard work! It requires huge focus and attention to detail and, oh, it’s expensive. It must be worth it. Choose recipes that you love and are happy to share. Put on your favorite music and belt out a ride or two. Rope in friends and family to help, but only if you trust that they actually help with the process and deliver cookies to your standards.

Most importantly, feel yourself and bake accordingly. Will a glass of wine come to help the process or slow down and make you sleepy? Are you going to flow through a recipe, or do you start fading and probably burn what you put next? Do not you just get this year? We really were not 2016. Take a year and come back next Christmas. Make sure you are happy with the process, and the journey will feel worthwhile.

2nd Begin early in the season

We learned this our first year. Lots of people give out sweets during peak season. Most of them will not be as amazing as your home-made tray of deliciousness. Avoid the crayon fatigue of others and see the spiritual crush the look of, “Oh no, another tray!” Flip over your eyes by starting your baking early and turning those sucking out as fast as you can. Our first year we made 22 recipes, each beautiful and beautifully executed. And we handed them over to Christmas, then we were ready for a sugar fee. Next year we received them by December 10th and we have not looked back since. You will get a much more enthusiastic response and you will be able to enjoy the process without the other requirements of the season pushing you.

Holiday Meringues, a new addition 2018 and one of several gluten-free options this year Photo: Kate Kulzick

3. Do your homework

If I could pass a lesson and lesson, it would be like this: Do not suppose everyone wants baked goods during the holidays. Question. Again, this type of baking is hard work, and puts it in and supplies a tray, you take enormous pride, just because it’s not supposed to be sucks . To find out that someone stopped throwing half of it or that they can not eat it because of food allergies, may feel like your life is sucked in laughter Princess Bride .

Yes, it’s fun to surprise people with cookies. That’s what the office is for. But friends and family? Just ask, and if they say “Thanks, but I’m trying to eat healthy right now” or “I’d love a little, but remember, I have those nuts?” Or “I’m not a big candy person”, believe in them and give them a gift card instead.

Related: Look at gluten-free and nut-free options. There is no reason not to have at least one pair of reliable recipes for each category. And if you are fighting a severe nut allergy, play it safely and buy them something done in a certified, nutritious kitchen or factory instead.

4th Do not do multitask

Just do not. You think you can reply to that email while the cookies are baking, but you will stop burning your edges each time. Take away the time to focus on this activity, disconnect from social media, and treat your work as a meditation. Stay on top of the counter, double check your recipe before starting each party (a mid-season trip to the grocery store is no friend), decide on a reasonable recipe list and do not immediately. If you make it perfect become the enemy of the god, you will do and recast parties throughout December.

Lime and Gin White Chocolate Macaroons, another popular recipe easily adapted to be gluten free Photo: Kate Kulzick

5. Enter an end date or end relationship and hold it. Think about the delivery

Can you stack the cakes on a plate, or will the glaze make them hold together? Do you deliver hand or send cookies by mail and, if so, can your recipes survive the trip? I pop popcorn to use as packing peanuts, make sure the cookies we send have plenty of damping so they do not break. I also print a cookie menu with pictures of each prescription and relevant allergen information so that people know what they eat, and possibly what to avoid.

Nothing compares to pastry fresh from the oven, but most recipes will remain fresh for a certain amount of time. Put each batch in airtight containers as soon as possible and keep the suckers closed until it’s time to compile your plates. We use very strong flavors in our baking and we realized after a few years that the product we delivered, while still good, was nowhere as good as what we had boxed. unless people broke into the cakes right away, recipes with more delicate flavors were overwhelmed by their neighbors in the box. Now for the plates we do not feel immediately extinguished, we use sandwiches to isolate each recipe and avoid taste pollution. It’s a hassle, and nowhere near as visually appealing, but much tastier.

The calm before the storm will soon be boxing, and then the cake goes to the family in Madison and friends and family center (Chicago) [19659006] Photo: Kate Kulzick

6. Debrief

Finally, when you’re done with everything, and maybe after a day’s recovery, do something for game analysis. Judge each recipe and cut those who do not value the effort. Make notes on your prescription cards about the tips you raised this year. Which recipes really need parchment paper, and which had a significantly different baking time than printed? You will not remember these details next year.

And if you did not have fun and it was too much, stop! Life is too short. I have a wonderful time to bake with my mother every year, but as soon as she’s ready to continue we’ll find a new tradition.

Until then, you can find me in the kitchen with my mom, early December, cut dried cranberries and pecans to mini Cranberry Hooteycreeks, or pussy pancakes for Pistachio Ribbon Bars (when I can not find them pre-shelled but unsalted as happened this year) or struggle to temper for small batches of chocolate for Peppermint Bark, singing carols and a wonderful start to the season. And if you are lucky you may make the delivery list.

Share
Published by
Faela