06 December 2016

Cookies & Cherished Memories: Why I'm Making 400 dozen Cookies this Holiday Season

I've spent the last several weeks (I actually started making and freezing cookie dough back in October this year) filling my cookie freezer with little balls of deliciousness, all portioned out and ready to bake for our annual Christmas Cookie Open House this Saturday.

Yes, I have an entire chest freezer in my basement devoted to holding cookie dough in anticipation of our party. See? This is what it looked like last Wednesday, with about 280 dozen cookies. The official cookie count right now is 349 dozen and 4 cookies (but I haven't yet portioned out and counted the dough I just mixed up, so it will be going up again as soon as I finish writing this post). Update: Final cookie count was 427 dozen and 2. We ended up going through roughly half of the cookies at the party, and it would have been more, but I ran out of some popular flavors early (I'll need to make more of those flavors next year), and my oven couldn't keep up with the demand (I'll have to start the party with more cookies pre-baked next year)!
This annual cookie party is my favorite holiday tradition. Not just because I enjoy eating dozens of cookies while visiting with family and friends (although I do enjoy that). Not even of the shocked looks (and total sense of accomplishment) I get when I tell people that I make hundreds of dozens of cookies for the party. It's my favorite because every single cookie I make reminds me of a dear friend or family member. In fact, I invented many of my recipes specifically for these friends and family members!

People know I love to push my limits, so they often give me cookie challenges. "Can you make a salted caramel cookie?" "Can you make an egg-free sugar cookie so my child with allergies can participate in the cookie decorating fun of the holiday season?" "Can you create a cookie to represent each of the Hogwarts houses??" So far, I haven't failed any of these challenges. And every time I pull out my recipe box and my mixing bowl, I get to think about the people who inspired each new recipe, and how blessed I am to have them in my life.

Since many of you can't come to the party (due to distance and other commitments), I've had more than a few requests to share my recipes. So over the next few days (or many days ... I have a lot of cookie recipes!), I'll be posting my favorite recipes, complete with stories about the people who make each cookie special to me.

Some of the cookies we'll be featuring at this year's party (I'll share the recipes for each):
* Lemon Snowball Cookies (both regular and gluten-free vegan varieties)
* Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies
* Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (made with imitation hazelnut extract, to be safe for my friends with nut allergies)
* Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies
* Chocolate Mint Cookies
* Lemon Basil Cookies
* Maple Bacon Cookies
* Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies
* Gluten-free Chocolate Cookies (vegan)
* Chocolate Orange Cookies 
* And the 4 Hogwarts Houses in cookie form  (each house will get its own blog post)
Other popular recipes that didn't make the cut for this year's cookie party:
* Spinach, Zucchini, and Whole Wheat Cookies with White Chocolate Drizzle
* Giant "Birthday Cake with Sprinkles"-inspired cookies (Gluten Free)
* Giant (gluten-free) Sugar Cookies

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