‘Tis the season of the Christmas cookie basket. That delicious treat that features sinful treats you probably don’t get the rest of the year. If you’re a master baker, put this on your gift list for an easy, fun treat no one will dislike. If you have kids, this is an affordable gift they can make for teachers and relatives alike. It’s the one thing I can guarantee no one will want to return to the store.
Cookie Basket Supplies
To make a proper cookie basket, you’ll need a few things:
Baskets or tins
Colored Saran or plastic wrap
Cookies and fudge
Visit a dollar store or Michael’s to stock up on the non-baking items. You can find cute, cheap baskets that aren’t decorated for Christmas, but no one will notice once they’re filled with cookies. If you need to make smaller gifts, pick up festive mugs at the dollar store.
Choosing Your Cookies
First, determine how many cookie baskets you’ll need. I usually like to put 2 dozen assorted cookies in each basket. Multiply 24 times the number of baskets you need to get the total number of cookies. Now choose five different holiday cookie recipes. I usually like to make snickerdoodles, candy cane cookies, stained glass cookies, chocolate thumbprints, and fudge.
Most cookie recipes make 2-4 dozen cookies, so five recipes is enough for 5-10 baskets. If you have kids, make figuring out how many batches of each recipe you need to bake to get enough cookies into a fun math challenge.
Shop for Supplies
If you didn’t stock up on baking items during Thanksgiving, you still can. Create a shopping list from your recipes, then visit the store with the best sale on baking supplies for everything you need.
Set Aside a Weekend to Bake
If you’re working alone, you can probably blast it out in one day, but if you don’t want to kill yourself, spend a few hours each weekend day baking. Then package them up in the evening. Start with the most complicated recipe and work down to the simplest. If you’re making a recipe with nuts and someone with a nut allergy is on your list, make it last to avoid contamination. Always keep those completely separate from the other cookies.
Package the Cookies
This is the last step. First, put a few layers of tissue paper on the bottom of the basket or tin as a cushion. Line the basket with colorful plastic wrap. Add about 5 of each type of cookie. Consider dropping in a couple candy canes or chocolate kisses for color and variety. Fold the plastic wrap over the top, then fold the tissue over it. If you’re using a tin, put the cover on. If you’re using a basket, set it on the center of a large sheet of cellophane. Pull the cellophane up over the sides so the corners meet. Gather the corners together and tie a bow around the bundle.
If you’ll be distributing the baskets over a couple weeks, freeze the cookies instead of packaging them all up at once. Lay the baked cookies flat on cookie sheets and put the sheets in the freezer for about 90 minutes. Then arrange the frozen cookies in large freezer bags or boxes. Label each one with the recipient’s name. Take a bag out of the freezer the night before you need to wrap it. Then just arrange the contents in the basket or tin and wrap it nicely. They’ll be as fresh and tasty as they were the day you made them.