Holiday cookie baking is in full swing. Bakers everywhere are dusting off their rolling pins, unearthing favorite cookie cutters, and pulling out the sprinkles. Cheery, colorful trays of cookies are one thing we look forward to most in the darkest days of winter, and we've made it a tradition to share that particular joy every December.
Each year, we hold an annual cookie bake: King Arthur employee-owners get together, setting aside time out of their work week, to bake hundreds and hundreds of our favorite cookie recipes. We package them up and deliver them to local shelters and food pantries.
It’s one way we like to give back and share our passion for baking. This year, though, things look a little different.
Although we're still doing a version of our annual bake — modified and scaled-down for safety — we felt these times demanded more giving back than ever.
How could we reach more people in need this year? We put our heads together and decided to tap a few bakeries around the country and ask them to hold their own cookie bake. In the style of our For Goodness Bakes program, we purchased between 300 and 400 holiday cookies from each bakery; they in turn baked and donated the cookies to a local organization of their choosing.
Not only does this help support struggling bakeries during this challenging year, but it also allows us to make an impact around the country, instead of only close to our home in Vermont.
Let’s meet the generous bakers!
Michael’s Cookie Jar, Houston
For over 14 years, this bakery has been one of Houston's go-to spots for superior cookies. They donated hundreds to SEARCH Homeless to be given out at their annual holiday drive-by event for homeless preschool children, as well as Kids’ Meals Houston, which delivers healthy meals directly to the homes of children struggling with hunger.
Janie's Life-Changing Baked Goods, New York City
With an incredible story of overcoming her own personal struggles with addiction, Janie is known for her cookies (including her famous pie crust cookie) and her work giving back to the community. She donated cookies to the Association to Benefit Children, which runs a variety of programs to aid New York’s most vulnerable and at-risk families.
Good Cakes and Bakes, Detroit
This organic bakery is known for its warm and welcoming ambiance and positive, educational approach to employment and community involvement. Their cookies were donated to Charlotte Mason Community School, which is committed to providing accessible and quality learning to Detroit students.
Dportsweets, Los Angeles
Known for stunningly colorful cakes and baked goods, this online bakery's expertise is gorgeously intricate layer cakes. They donated cookies to the Junior League of Los Angeles, which is focused on volunteerism and developing community through the action and leadership of women.
Sugar Bakeshop, Charleston
Since 2007, this whimsically beautiful little shop has served up from-scratch, small-batch baked goods that keep people coming back again and again. They donated their cookies to One80Place, which is the largest provider of homeless services in the city of Charleston.
Pastry Girl Lisa, Nashville
Lisa Marie White is a James Beard Award-nominee for Outstanding Pastry Chef and has worked in top restaurants in Nashville, New Orleans, and beyond. Her creations, from jumbo cinnamon rolls to flaky biscuits, are exquisite. For this initiative, she teamed up with the talented cake baker Rachel Schut of Rach Cakes Nashville and donated cookies to the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, which is one of the nation’s leading children’s hospitals and is committed to treating all children in need, regardless of their families’ ability to pay.
King Arthur Baking Company
Yes, of course we baked too! We donated cookies to three different local organizations in Vermont: the Upper Valley Haven, which provides food and shelter to people struggling with poverty; David’s House, which gives free lodging to families while they have a child receiving medical care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Families in Recovery Program, which assists pregnant women and mothers who are struggling with substance abuse.
We’re incredibly grateful for this community of talented bakers, and it warms us deeply to share our annual holiday tradition with a broader group.
Despite the challenges that surround us during this holiday season in particular, we hope you’ll be inspired by our initiative and find a way to spread joy through baking as well, whether it’s a drop-off of cookies to a neighbor or simply stirring up cake batter with a child. Every bit of baking makes the world a little sweeter, and a lot brighter. Find some of our favorite classic cookie recipes here to get started!
Cover photo courtesy of Lisa Marie White