Baking cookies, as my friends know, are a big deal for me all year long, most especially at holiday time. For the last dozen years or more, I have given gifts from my kitchen. We are all fortunate folks in my little circle and have no need for more "stuff." I buy pretty/funky/kitschy plates throughout the year from garage sales and thrift stores - some friends are on the lookout, as well - and the plate on which the cookies are arranged is part of each gift.
There have been years when I've gone nuts and baked more than 1000 cookies in nine or ten or eleven varieties, years when I thought I just didn't have it in me go do it all again and then enjoyed it when I got into the kitchen. This year, I've been looking forward for weeks to these next few days I'll spend in my kitchen.
Four or five varieties have become "must-bake" over the year - friends demand them. This year, all but two of them are gone. The Gilded Chocolate Shortbread and the Chocolate Rugelach are all that remain from holidays past. Five brand new cookies will make their debut this year. I think - I hope - they're going to be delicious. Most important, we'll enjoy them gathered together.
I'm going to "blog" the Baking Days this year. First up (see above) sugar cookies. I use the wonderfully easy recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook. I've tried at least half a dozen different sugar cookie recipes and to me, this one is by far the best.
Time for coffee while the butter softens for Pecan Shortbread Cookies.