Holiday cookie tins were the best things ever when I was a kid. They were always produced with love and care by the person who gave them to us, and my sister and I loved decorating cookies to give to our family and friends. Now as an adult I completely get the appeal of producing cookie tins for hostess gifts, cookie exchanges, and still family and friends.
I am a stress baker. I love being able to stop my over thinking for a little while by focusing on something that requires full concentration and makes people happy once it is finished. The holiday season is notoriously stressful with gifts, parties, work, and finals so it’s the time where I bake the most. In fact I got overboard and can’t possibly eat this many baked goods so my savior is the cookie tin.
It’s the easiest way to spread happiness, cheer, and love because you don’t even need to be an expert baker to produce a cookie tin. There are so many boxed mixes for cookies and brownies which can be made by the directions or altered to create unique tasty treats. But there is a formula for putting together the perfect holiday tin. Here are a few tips, tricks, and actual recipes I use when putting together my tasty gift tins.
- Don’t be afraid of messy textures and frosted cookies. Even a couple frosted cookies can be included as long as the icing has dried (it’s best to use royal icing).
- When in doubt stick with chocolate chip. Unsure about your skills or trying something new? Go with chocolate chip. It’s a classic and a crowd pleaser. Add M&Ms or nuts to spice them up a little bit.
- Never skip the gingerbread. You don’t have to roll and cut them. There are plenty of other options for the cookie, but it’s a staple because it includes the tastes of the season: nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Separate the contents of the tray/tin with festive cupcake liners or by using twine to tie cookies together.
- Butter. Butter. Butter. Invest in a lot of butter. Butter cookies are the best cookies and everyone knows it. Make sure to always use real butter for all baked goods. It keeps the flavor and calories don’t count at Christmas.
What is in my holiday cookie tin (aka assembly):
- Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints – Include a jam cookie for a change of texture.
- Brown Butter Pecan Shortbread – Try to include a nut cookie of some kind. Pecan Sandies are iconic cookies. Be aware of nut allergies depending on the nut cookie you choose.
- Gooey Brownies – Brownies meets two requirements of a cookie tin: a bar of some kind and chocolate. There is no dessert without chocolate. Never leave it out.
- Russian Tea Cakes – Anything with powdered sugar is essential. It’s white and powdery like snow. Russian tea cakes are one of the easiest and most popular cookies I’ve ever made.
- Gingerbread People – See above plus they are just fun to decorate
- Sugar Cookies – If you aren’t confident with gingerbread, go for the classic sugar or both. This NY Times guide to sugar cookies is a life saver and gives you tips and tricks for getting the perfect shape, icing, and bake. They are by far the funnest cookie to do because the possibilities are endless.
- Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip – Remember to under bake and let rest for the perfect gooey cookie
- Chewy Molasses Cookies
- Ultimate Sugar Cookies
- Danish Butter Cookies
- Brown Butter Cinnamon Cookies
- Brown Butter Linzer Cookies