Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Cookie Marathon: Part 1

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas tree is going up, decorations are being hung, and my Christmas cookie list is quickly taking shape.  I have always dreamed of spending hours and days in my kitchen just baking away.  Cookies, peppermint bark, chocolate covered goodies, macaroons, popcorn balls, the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, I am a pharmacy student, which means I have finals...right before Christmas! GRRRR, it ruins my baking every single year!  Last year, my mom and I decided we were going to spend an entire day baking at her house after my finals, and low and behold, the night before we had a huge snow storm, and we were snowed in for the weekend. To make it worse, my mom had all the baking supplies, so I couldn't even bake while snowed in!!  But alas, the year has finally come that I have figured out a way to complete my baking marathon.  

This year the marathon will take place on two separate occasions.  Part 1 will be at my house, during the first week of December.  I am starting so early because my husband and I are going to Chicago (his trip is work related, mine is social). So I am making a gift basket full of my baking for his office.  I figure this is far enough away from finals that I won't feel guilty for baking instead of studying :)  Part II will take place the day after my finals at my parents house.  we will be packaging these baked goodies for family gifts.

So, how do I begin my baking marathon?  Well, I hit up the internet, my cook books, and my friends to help me choose what I think are the most tasty treats of the year. Then I make three lists: 
an overall list of everything I want to make
Photo by Meg McCluskey

this list helps me not overlook anything.  I know exactly what I want to make, what my "taste testers" want to eat, and how much time I will need to make everything. 
My next list is obvious.  It's my grocery list!  I inventory my pantry and determine what I need to pick up at the local grocery store. 

The picture by my shopping list is of my adorable nephews, Simon and Levi, when they were born
Photo by Meg McCluskey 

 Finally, my last step in planning my cookie extravaganza is to make a timeline of in what order to complete my baking.  This is especially important when you are baking to meet a deadline, baking over several days, or shipping your baked goods.  For example, if you are shipping your treats, you want to develop your timeline so that you make the items that store best first (chocolate covered, biscotti, etc), and the items with the shorter expiration last (linzer cookies, sugar cookies, etc.) You also have to think about how much time you have each day if you are baking multiple days.  You don't want to make too many time intensive treats at once.  You never knew baking was so systematic did you?!?!
Photo by Meg McCluskey

So, the moral of the story is, that over the next several days (and I mean SEVERAL), I will be posting all of my Christmas cookie creations.  So, stay tuned! 


  1. We're making peppermint bark? How fun! I need a shopping list for next weekend's day of baking. I will be in Morgantown Friday and Saturday if you want to go shopping for baking supplies and then Sams for goodies for dad and Justin to eat while we bake. :-) We need to plan our Christmas Dinner menu, too. I see another list in your future. lol

  2. I'm thinking a Ham for Christmas dinner. I found a good recipe. Let me know when you are coming to shop.