Christmas Cookie Baking

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How to bake 1,000 cookies in 3 days or less all from scratch!

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It is the most wonderful time of the year once again! The Christmas season is upon us! If you want to make a whole lot of cookies from scratch and different types continue reading this Christmas cookie baking post! In 2 of my recent posts Snickerdoodle Cookies and Home Bakers Tips and Tricks, this is the time of year I bake 1,000 cookies. When I tell people this they are shocked and always ask the question how? Today I am going to share that answer in detail!

How did Christmas Cookie Baking turn into 1,000 cookies?

In my family, a large amount of Christmas cookie baking is a bit of a tradition. When I was a kid around Christmas time I will never forget all those years of my mom baking a whole bunch of cookies for a few days in a row just a few days before Christmas. She used to take our huge dining table, add extenders line it with a tablecloth, and as the hours would pass the cookies lined up the entire dining table until there literally was no room left for anymore. The house smelled amazing of all different types of delicious cookies, and soon after she baked them they were being sent off. I never really knew how unique this was until I got older. 

Later my sister and I realized they were gifts. My mom would make beautiful cookie trays and my dad would bring some to work and the rest of the trays would get sent out to family or friends. Every year I’d take a ride with my dad to different family and friend’s houses to deliver the cookies as we looked at Christmas lights and listened to Christmas music. As my sister and I grew up we started to pitch in. My mom can definitely handle baking 1,000 cookies all on her own but why not help? Plus it’s always fun to sneak some of the cookie dough!

When my sister and I got married there was a point when my family and I were no longer all together for all of the holidays. My sister got married and moved away, my parents were snowbirds between Nj and Fl, and I was going to school in Fl then later moved home to Nj, got married, and moved back down here. My mom was always known to be the one baking over 1,000 cookies but once my first niece was born it was hard to keep up. When I wasn’t with my family around Christmas I started to do the Christmas cookie baking all on my own. I started small at a little over 600 cookies my first time and as the years have flown by I bake well over 1,000. Yes, it is a lot of cookies but again, as my mom used to do, they are made up as gifts. I sometimes make trays but with covid-19 I have decided to transition into using small boxes this year.

The infamous table of cookies from a few years ago. I couldn’t find any photos from when I was a kid and it was full!

Christmas cookie baking, how it’s done!

The main thing you need to do is be organized. I am going to break it down for you below.

Figure out what cookies you want to make. Then ask yourself how many batches of each. Once you have figured that out you will need to do a bit of math. Figure out how much butter, margarine, sugar, flour, baking powder, soda, spices, morsels, extracts, and any other ingredients you may need. It is very very important that you read the recipes far in advance. My mom always made her dough a day or 2 prior to baking them, you can definitely do that but I have an easier method.

I have learned over the last few years to make it a little easier on myself, you should really make the cookie dough sparingly. This goes back to being organized. Go through the recipes and if a dough states to chill the cookie dough, then it is freezable. This means instead of taking a day or 2 to make all of your doughs in a short period of time, you have just given yourself the gift of time. I always make a list and check off what freezable doughs I have made and label them before they go to go to the freezer. Whenever I have free time from the end of October till December I make my freezable cookie doughs. Just about any dough that can be chilled can be frozen for up to 3 months, which really helps.

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Once all of my freezable cookie doughs are made I go over my Christmas cookie baking list and see what other cookie doughs need to be made then baked right away. This allows me to prioritize and see what I’m baking first 2nd 3rd and so on. I always look at the recipe to see how long the cookie stays fresh. The cookies that stay fresh the longest get baked first. If there is a cookie dough that should be baked first and because they stay fresh the longest then I do that dough and bake that cookie right away, like my White Chocolate Hazelnut Meltaways.

When do I start baking? It depends but I usually start December 20th, obviously it depends on what is going on that Christmas season. My husband works somewhere that has events so I sometimes go there which makes me have to reorganize my baking days. I always try to have my cookies baked and ready to go by the 23rd so I can start giving them out on the 23rd and Christmas Eve. 

Baking all these cookies can be done by 1 person. It will take longer and be tiring but I promise it is worth the effort. I always look at the recipes and see which cookies I can bake one right after another so I don’t need to mess with the oven temperature too often. Cookies that have more steps involved than just a drop cookie are usually what I try to get done first and also keep in mind to prioritize by their freshness since towards the end you get pretty tired you don’t want to do a more time-consuming cookie that stays fresh longer last. Having an extra set of hands is always helpful and fun but not necessary. I always have the house to myself and put Alexa to work, she’s my music and sometimes my cookie timer! You do not need 2 ovens to bake this many cookies! My mom has always had 2 ovens and made all of her cookies in 2 days. I take 2-3 days depending on what time I get started and what’s on my Christmas cookie baking list.

Now I am going to go over some items that you should have for baking a whole lot of cookies. A kitchen aid stand mixer just makes mixing doughs a lot easier. I even have an extra bowl and paddle attachment. You really need at least 4 cookie sheets. The more cookie sheets the better, the reason you want more than 2 is if you are baking this many cookies and have some in the oven, while those are baking you can quickly get started in getting the next batch of dough balls on your cookie sheets. Make sure you have plenty of airtight containers to put your cookies in. As my cookies fully cool they get put into a container separate from all the other flavors. The reason I do this is so once they have put on a tray or a box they will taste like the cookie they are meant to be rather than what they have sat with for a few days, plus a fresh cookie is always better than a stale one. A cookie scoop is not needed but I think they help. I always have at least 2 cookie scoops so I can have one clean one at all times, I like my cookies a smaller size so they are usually the .5 cookie scoop. Parchment paper, yeah I know it isn’t cheap but it makes fewer dishes and life easier. 

What different types of cookies do you make and how many batches?

Well, the batches depending on the cookie. Not every cookie dough makes the same amount of cookies. Nestles Chocolate chip cookies are always the filler cookie on my trays or boxes. My mom always did this and since they make a lot and are quick it makes sense, with that in mind I usually make 1.5 to 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies. Oatmeal cookies aren’t always a favorite but they are always on my list, most of the time I make only a half or 1 batch since not as many people love them. I always make 2 batches of Snickerdoodles, they are on my list every year! My family and I love the chocolate cookie from my Easy Homemade Oreos so I usually make a batch of just the cookie. Traditional Red Raspberry Thumbprints from Land O’Lakes are always on the list, my husband loves these so I need to make 2 just so he doesn’t eat all of them! I make Red Velvet Thumbprint cookie from Taste of Home and always make a single batch because well they are red and white and look cute! Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies are always on the list, one batch of these because they make a lot. A batch of Pecan Pie Thumbprints from Land O’Lakes is on my list too as well as Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Sugar Cookies! A meltaway cookie always ends up on the list too, usually, these delicious Eggnog ones from Yellow Bliss Road I love these Whipped Shortbread Cookies from Taste of Home and these make a lot but I always make a half batch of them. So as you can see I make quite a bit of different cookies. If you figure out ahead of time what you want to bake I promise it makes it so much easier to make a large number of cookies. Don’t forget to have fun and pick your own favorites to make!

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Who can I give the cookies to?

Anyone you think would appreciate them! As I mentioned in my post for Gift Ideas 2020, cookie trays, boxes, or bags make the perfect inexpensive DIY gift. Give them to your local coffee shop as a thank you. Make some baggies for teachers as a little Christmas treat. Maybe give some to a neighbor you feel may need a little more love this season. I am sure a little box of homemade love would make anyone happy!

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Comment below what are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

13 thoughts on “Christmas Cookie Baking

  • You have me thinking about gingerbread cookies. I was watching the British Baking Show last night and they were making gingerbread houses – all I could think about was your thumbprint cookies!

  • This would be a fun box to get. Growing up my grandma would make Carmel popcorn balls. I want to start this with my kiddos to pass out to friends.

  • I am, as we speak, in the middle of my Christmas baking! It’s usually a whole weekend affair!! Usually at least 10 different cookies! I’m not filling as many tins this year with COVID as we just won’t see as many people. It’s tradition in this house to blast the Christmas music and bake from morning til night! Lol

    • Yay! I love it! I can’t wait to start in a week! You probably get close to how many I make, I do 13 different kinds and some double batches.

  • LOVE IT! We used to do something similar for holiday gifts when I had lots of helper in the kitchen! Now that my kiddos are busier and not around as much, it is sad, but we don’t have the time. I miss those days!

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