25 Days of Christmas Cookies at Greenlake Guest House-A Recap
January 16, 2020
If you have been a guest with us in the past, you may be aware that we have been baking “25 Days of Christmas Cookies” each December for the past few years. This year may have been our best yet. Julie and all of the staff including Jane, Linsy, Katie all look forward to planning and baking and decorating these special cookies each year. Our interim innkeeper Coral also helped with the cookie baking during the first week of December this year when Julie and Blayne were in Europe. We baked some of our family and staff favorites as well as some brand new recipes. Inspired by Julie and Blayne’s trip to Europe and the famous Christmas Markets there, we also added some special new European cookies this year.
How do we manage 25 Days of Christmas cookies in December?First, we start planning a month or two ahead of time by looking at recipes and talking with our friends, and family, guests, and staff. Julie puts together a master list that includes a mix of fancier, time consuming cookies and some easier recipes for the busy days. In addition, we try to balance out the workload by doing some prepping ahead of time. For example, on a slow day we might mix some sugar cookie or gingerbread cookie dough that needs to be refrigerated. We mix the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator or even the freezer. Then, we shape and bake the cookies the next day (thaw overnight in the refrigerator if dough is frozen). Finally, we frost and decorate the baked cookies on the third day. Other cookies, such as the date nut pinwheels, can be prepped and frozen (unbaked), then thawed in the refrigerator overnight and baked the next day. In addition, some cookies such as the miniature cheesecakes are typically stored completely baked and frozen so they can be made up to a few weeks ahead of time. Cookies can also be prepped and baked in partial batches. It's possible to have a variety of fresh baked cookies on hand to give as gifts or serve at a party with a little planning. We don't use a lot of special equipment to bake these cookies. However, Julie really loves her silicone mat for rolling out cookie dough easily without sticking. Other tools that are nice to have include parchment paper and insulated cookie sheets for baking the cookies and and a piping bag and tips for frosting the cookies. It's also handy to have a variety of cookie tins for storing the cookies and giving them as gifts.
What makes a cookie a Christmas cookie?In our opinion, this decision is somewhat arbitrary and personal. At Greenlake Guest House, we bake lots of different cookies every day of the year. Here are the criteria we used this year for our Christmas cookies (yours might be different):
- Christmas cookies can’t be cookies that we bake at other times of the year
- The cookies should reflect the flavors of the season: chocolate, peppermint, ginger, cinnamon, and so forth.
- Ideally, the cookies should be very photogenic and festive looking in addition to being delicious.
- We included family recipes of cookies that we enjoyed during the holiday seasons of our childhoods.
- This year, we were inspired by the European Christmas markets and made a greater effort to include cookies that reflected our Scandinavian and German heritage.