A fresh batch of homemade Christmas cookies is the best way to show someone you love them, even if you’re glaring at them, covered in flour, when you drop off the tin. Here’s a step by step guide for how to make and deliver homemade cookies during the holiday season.
Two Days Before Baking: Decide which cookies you’ll be making and write a shopping list
Some people say that you should always make a batch of test cookies first, but we all know that’s overkill. Also, Christmas is the time for experimentation; don’t rely on your tried-and-true recipes. Troll the internet for brand new recipes, the more complex the better. Your in-laws will be so impressed! I suggest no fewer than three cookie recipes, or else your friends and family will think you hate them. Dainty, crumbly cookies are always the best cookies to make, especially if you’re shipping them. Remember that when writing your shopping list, you don’t need to check your pantry. Just go by your vague recollection of buying white flour six months ago and hope your husband doesn’t want eggs for breakfast for the next few days.
The Day Before Baking: Go shopping
This step is best accomplished right after work, when the grocery stores are busiest. Bonus points if you have rare ingredients and need to make multiple stops. Or, hell, just substitute right at the store. Who needs dried orange peel when you can just pick up orange juice? Also, no looking substitutes up on your SmartPhone. That’s cheating.
Get up early, you need a head start. After you’ve finished dicking around on the internet, realize it’s four p.m. and get to work. Don’t bother reading through your recipes to determine which ones need to rest in the refrigerator before baking, or what the baking times are, just roll up your sleeves and go. A few tips:
1. Who cares if your half-cup of brown sugar is packed, or your cup of flour is heaping? Exact measurements are for pussies.
2. Only read the directions one step at a time, you’ve got too much going on to bother getting all bent out of shape about little things like letting the butter come to room temperature before creaming.
3. Bake your favorite cookies first. You’re fresher at the beginning of your baking extravaganza, so you want to have your favorites on hand and perfect so you can stress-eat while you fuck up the other batches.
4. Remember that loud Christmas music accomplishes two things: one, it keeps your Christmas-music-hating husband from entering the kitchen to catch you sitting on the floor sobbing while eating your second failed batch, and two, it conveniently drowns out the swearing.
5. After you’ve burnt two batches to a crisp, over-mixed the third, and eaten all the cookies in your only edible batch, remember that mankind developed pre-made, refrigerated cookie dough for a reason.
6. When you make it to the store, don’t buy the pre-made dough with the little shapes in it; they’re a dead giveaway that your cookies aren’t home-made. Also, if you check out at the supermarket with chocolate chips smeared on your cheeks, butter and egg all over your shirt, and a deranged look in your eye, you get really quick service.
7. Buy an extra tube to eat raw – after all this work you deserve a treat. Remember your wine pairings! Pillsbury sugar cookie dough goes well with a sweet dessert white, and a big mug of rum (neat) washes down the flavors of Toll House chocolate chip nicely.
The Day After Baking: Package your cookies.
As you forgot to buy cookie tins or suitable boxes, frantically rush around town trying to find something. Recoil in horror at the price tags – fuck spending $4 on a fucking piece of metal. Settle for flimsy gift boxes – they hold up in shipping, right?
Once you’ve gotten home, realized you didn’t have baggies or tissue paper, and returned from getting those, get to work. The goal is to break as many of your cookies as humanly possible while bagging, tagging and packing. Do this in the living room, the carpet can catch all the crumbs. When packaging cookies for shipping, use the flimsiest box possible and pack them in loosely.
Two to Five Days After Baking: Intend to ship your cookies
Six Days After Baking: Ship your cookies
Don’t bother looking things up online, just go to the post office and hope. When you inevitably realize the t-shirt box you packed cookies in just barely doesn’t fit a priority flat rate box, don’t panic. In the words of Newman, just crease, crumple, cram – you’ll do fine! And you’ll save yourself some cash on the shipping. I mean, ten bucks for moving a package cross-country in two days? What do they think we are, made of money?
Seven days after: Relax, knowing you’ve given the best gift ever
A box of delicious, powdery cookie crumbs can be used to top ice cream, liven up oatmeal, or just eaten straight up with a spoon, so your in-laws are ungrateful bastards if they call you to complain.* I mean, you could have gotten them socks, like they gave you last year.
*Contrary to what you may think after reading this, I really like my in-laws and they’re nothing but awesome when I send them cookies.