I am always so impressed with people who produce oceans of Christmas cookies of various kinds and dole them out in charming tins. The woman who took care of me growing up has about twenty or so kinds of cookes that she makes every year. She doesn’t break a sweat. They are all very different and all beautiful to look at and all delicious.
Last weekend, my friend and I decided we wanted to make Christmas cookies together but we had limited space (a New York City apartment) and limited equipment (bowls, spoons, and one baking sheet). But we did it!!! We made three kinds. And it was so quick and easy. The trick is deciding what flavors you want in your cookies and then doing variations on those themes. You can get out the colored icing and the cookie cutters if you’d like, but we opted for something a little more…shall we say…urban chic.
Here is how we did it:
Baking soda! All into the bowl.
Raw sugar! My favorite kind. It adds a crunch which may be alarming to you, but I like it.
(Put it in the microwave if you have to! Especially if you don’t have an electric mixer, which we did not. I can hear the bakers of the world gasping at my technique but this is my journey).
Combine them in a separate bowl.
Give it a mix. Add vanilla.
Give it another mix until the butter is “creamed.”
Eggs from my chickens! The white one is from Lucy. Hers are always a little bigger because she’s a fat chicken.
Add the eggs…and incorporate well.
Now combine your two bowls into one and mix well. Try to get as many lumps out as you can. And if you need to, use your hands. I did. And then I licked my fingers. It was great.
Now, take your two bowls and put a third of the batter into one, and leave the other two thirds in the other.
Take the bowl with one third and add whatever flavoring ingredients you desire. We went for a classic cookie for the first round: “chocolate walnut.”
I like to use big dark chocolate bars sometimes and cut them up for a rustic look and taste, but we were going for “ease” here and there’s nothing like a good bag of chocolate chips to make your life easy.
We had one sheet tray that we covered in foil and dropped small dollops of batter onto.
I’d say about 1.5 inches apart… but if you end up with one whole sheet tray sized cookie is that really a bad thing? Think about it.
For our “second third” of batter we made a cookie that we named “the kitchen sink,” because we put just about everything we had in there: chocolate chips, oats, raisins, and walnuts.
This was a very spectacular cookie. Why choose when you can have everything I say?
And then for our “third third” we made white chocolate and dried cranberry cookies. White chocolate scares me, I’ll be honest. It’s always so sweet. But the cranberries were sour enough that it totally worked. I’m a convert.
Since we only had one sheet tray, I made one from tin foil. Just fold some sturdy tin foil in half and flatten it well. The only thing is that you will need four hands to transfer it to the oven, or, if you only have two hands, you can wait until the sheet tray is ready for a second batch and slide the new sheet right on!
Batch #1, warm and soft. You can see the little air holes in the cookies from the raw sugar. Fun.
They were good. Can you taste them?
How about now?
Maybe you should just make some. It’s quite easy to have a variety of Christmas cookies in your dining room, beckoning to visitors when they walk in. They will be very impressed at how together you seem after slaving away over all those Christmas cookies. Just tell them it is a gift you were born with, and that you can’t help it.