As we ring in the holiday season, we've officially declared this week to be Cookie Week. To celebrate, we're covering all things cookie-related, from decorating to gifting to going gluten-free. Join us for festive inspiration and plenty of holiday cheer.
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This time of year is all about giving. And while I can’t tell you which present to buy for a picky parent or finicky sibling, I do know one gift that always fits …
Sharing a beautiful cookie plate that you’ve crafted with love and care can be one of the most heartwarming (and delicious) activities to partake in this month.
Especially this year, when holiday parties are on hold, we can remind our loved ones how much we care by dropping off a plate of their favorite cookies to enjoy all week long.
Any homemade treat will be received with joy by a friend or neighbor, whether it’s a simple batch of Easy Peanut Butter Cookies or elaborately decorated sugar cookies. But if you want to take your cookie plate to the next level this season, we’ve got some advice on crafting your best one yet.
1) Understand what makes a great cookie plate
When building a cookie plate, your primary goal is to create something that:
- Looks visually stunning
- Appeals to different palates
- Most importantly, tastes amazing!
So keep these objectives in mind as you plan out your plate and select the recipes you're going to bake. Ask yourself questions like which cookies will look good together? Do I have something that appeals to both chocolate-lovers and gingerbread-devotees?
And the biggest question of all: are each of these recipes absolutely delicious? (If the answer to this last question is yes, you can be guaranteed a successful cookie plate.)
2) Include cookies that are seasonal and nostalgic
This time of year is shaped by memories and traditions that stretch back years. So it’s the perfect opportunity to bake up classic cookies that represent the season.
Including cookies full of seasonal flavors is another great way to capture the spirit of the holidays. Spiced Chocolate Molasses Buttons are full of rich, cozy molasses flavor, while the Gingersnaps above have plenty of warming spices like cloves and ginger.
3) Focus on variety
The beauty of a cookie plate is that you get to share a bunch of different recipes instead of sticking to just one batch of the same cookie. So use that to your advantage and showcase as much variety as possible.
Think about all the different elements to play around with, such as:
By incorporating each of these factors, you’ll create a cookie plate that’s exciting and unexpected. Not to mention, it will look gorgeous with so many different cookies cozied up next to each other.
Or you can include the sunny, bright taste of Lemon Snowball Cookies alongside richly flavored Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. (Just be careful about cookies with extra strong flavor, like peppermint, as these can sometimes perfume the cookies around them. Consider waiting to add strongly flavored cookies to your plate until just before serving or gifting.)
When it comes to assembling everything together, try pairing gooey cookies next to crunchy ones, and stamped ones next to rolled ones. With so much variety, your plate will look amazing. And think of how much fun a loved one will have discovering all the different delights laid out for them!
Baker’s tip: Baking so many different recipes can be a lot of work, so start early and stock up your freezer with cookie dough or even fully baked cookies. That way you can break down the work across days and simply bake or defrost cookies when you’re ready to assemble your plate. And if you don't want a ton of leftover cookies, we have tips on reducing a recipe.
4) Add allergen-friendly options
Make sure everyone can partake in the cookie fun by ensuring you serve some allergen-friendly options on your plate.
If you know the person you’re gifting your cookies to has a specific dietary restriction, you can customize your entire plate accordingly. Meanwhile, if your plate is being gifted through a cookie exchange, served in another home, or shared with a friend’s family, it’s good to bake a few recipes that are vegan, nut-free, and/or gluten-free to ensure everyone will be able to enjoy.
For example, these nut-free Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies can easily be made gluten-free by substituting Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, making them an excellent allergen-friendly option.
Note: If someone has a strong sensitivity to gluten, consider putting together a cookie plate that's entirely gluten-free. See our recipe site for plenty of options, or consider substituting Measure for Measure Flour into your all favorite recipes.
And make sure to include a label or note with information on which cookies are which! If you’re artistically inclined, you can even have fun drawing up a little index with illustrations of the different cookies and their corresponding descriptions.
5) Dress things up
To make your plate even more festive, add decorative flourishes like ribbons, bows, and tags full of holiday spirit.
When it comes to the plate itself, you can choose one that’s holiday-themed for maximum cheer, or a minimalist, neutrally colored platter that allows your cookies to shine. To arrange your cookies on the plate, try nestling them into festive cupcake liners so they stay neatly arranged.
If you’re going to be transporting your plate, you can slide it into a Baker’s Bread Bag, which is easier to use than fussing with plastic wrap, then tie it with some ribbon or Red and White Baker’s Twine for a decorative finishing touch.
Finally, use a holiday tag like our Christmas Village Gift Tags to write a festive note and wish season’s greetings to the lucky person who'll be enjoying your cookies.
6) Gift with an extra treat
'Tis the season of giving, so serve an extra little gift alongside your cookies plate for an added dose of holiday cheer.
A batch of hot chocolate mix makes the perfect addition to your gift — imagine your loved one enjoying a homemade cookie alongside a steaming cup of hot chocolate by the fire. There might not be a better gift you can bestow all season!
Baking up season's greetings
Cookie plates are a wonderful way to flex your creative muscles while also making a homemade gift that's sure to bring a smile to someone's face. Use it as an opportunity to try out new recipes and recreate classic favorites, experiencing all the different possibilities that cookie baking can offer. And at the end of the day, put it all together into a stunning gift that looks delightful and tastes even better.
If you're in the cookie baking spirit, see our other Cookie Week posts here. We also have an entire classic cookie collection, full of nostalgic recipes and family favorites so you can start planning out your festive cookie plate.