This year, I decided to go a bit crazy with the holiday cookies. In addition to usual suspects like lemon gingerbread trees, jam-filled cookies, and homemade girl scout thin mints, I wanted to try a few new recipes like red velvet whoopie pies (the season's big hit with my friends) or banana bars (my personal favorite).
When you're making this many cookies, a good game plan is key. It begins right after Thanksgiving, when I go through cookbooks, magazines, and clippings I've been saving, and even websites to find the right mix of cookies. I'm going for different colors, flavors, and textures.
Beginning in early December, I make the doughs, two a day, and freeze them until I'm ready to begin baking. I start with cookies like girl scout thin mints that freeze really well and finish with more fragile cookies, like spritz cookies, that don't. The day before I plan to serve, I do all the glazing, frosting, filling, and decorating, so that when I'm ready to serve, all I have to do is arrange them on plates, which is the fun part.
Here's the full list of what I did this year. A few of these recipes are already on my blog. I'll update others in the future:
Girl Scout Thin Mints
Chocolate pistachio checkerboards
Vienna almond cookies with royal icing
Frosted banana bars
Lemon tea cookie sandwiches
Lemon cookies with candied ginger
Cinnamon log slices
Colored dough sugar cookies
Red velvet whoopie pies
Cranberry-cherry swirl biscotti
Butter spritz cookies
Coconut macaroon trees