Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cookies with Friends

by Kelly Miller

In 1997, I started a tradition with two of my college roommates.  I had just gotten married, and I wanted to bake Christmas cookies.  In past years my mom and I did this together, and I thought since I had no children, I would do this with girlfriends.  The first year was very time consuming:  we got together with cookbooks, chose recipes, went to the grocery store and started baking.  12 hours later, we were done.

Now it is 2010, and we have streamlined the process to make it efficient and quick.  We each come with three recipes
 (usually two of our favorites and one new recipe each).  If the dough can me made ahead of time, we do that.  Also, we each try to include a stove top recipe as well (like fudge or candy) as the biggest challenge is getting time for the oven.  Start to finish is now about 5 hours (including a lunch break). 

Here are some tips I've learned over the years:  Plan the baking day in November for one of the first weekends in December.  Cookies freeze well, and it is too busy closer to Christmas.  Also, make a double recipe of everything; this works well for us since we split everything three equal ways.  I would advise that a baking group of three works really well .... a larger group would only work in a home with a second oven.  Rotate homes, so each person hosts every third year.  Baking can be messy ... keep up with dishes as you go, and allow extra time at the end for sweeping and wiping down counters.

This year my daughter is 8-years-old, and she has been part of our baking group since she was a preschooler.  This has now turned into a holiday tradition that we both look forward to each year.  I really appreciate being able to offer my holiday guests a variety of homemade cookies each year.

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