by Ruth R. Hartunian-Alumbaugh, RMT/BC, Field Editor in Willimantic, CT.
In this installment, I’ll discuss things you can do to make it easier to participate in Cookies Across America, highlighting the 10th as a special day to share your cookies!
If your life is extremely busy, you can even make your delicious cookies in stages. For me, it can be feast or famine when it comes to time, but either way, you can do simple things so you can have your cookie and eat it, too!
One time saving tip is to refrigerate or freeze the dough until you have time to bake it. I like to freeze my dough on a flat cookie sheet in uniform sizes. After the dough is frozen, I pop them into a zip lock bag so that I can just remove however many cookies I need and bake when the timing suits me. If I don’t have time to bake individual cookies, I just put all of those little dough balls in a 9X13 pan and bake bar cookies. If you don’t have time to portion out your cookie dough, you can shape it into a log, wrap it in wax paper and pop it in the freezer. Just remember to label your dough so you remember what kind of cookie you have. When you need to make fresh cookies, all you do is partially thaw the dough and then slice and bake fresh, hot cookies! No mess, no fuss, and still great cookies!
Just a note about cookie sizes: for the Dark Chocolate Jumbo Cookies the recipe says to use 1/3 cup of dough per cookie, but, for me, it’s a bit much. The cookies are big enough for 2-3 people! So, I make them smaller to fit my family’s needs. And as an added bonus, I can bake two kinds of cookies at one time since the sizes are uniform and have the same baking time.
I have baked both versions of the Cookies Across America chocolate chip cookie and they’ve received mixed reviews. There are some traditionalists who LOVE the Original Toll House recipe with the dark chips best because they are a timeless classic. For Jumbo Dark Chocolate Cookies, people who love these love the fact that they are very satisfying and almost luxurious in how they melt in your mouth. For me, I can eat a lot more of the raw dough from the traditional recipe – the dark chocolate cookie just a bit too rich.
Today a local newspaper reporter came to my home to take pictures of me with some cookies. I can’t wait to see what the outcome will be with Cookies Across America. I finally decided who I am going to bake for, for the December 10th event. I am going to send cookies to my son-in-law who is in the army and on active duty. But I am also going to do something a little wider scaled than that, too. I am going to make the original and the dark cookies in large quantities and then package each of them in a huge container. I am going to don my tiara that I received this year for a 50th birthday gift (thank you, Emily), and I am going to be the town “Cookie Queen.” On both December 9th and 10th, I’ll take all of my cookies packages to people who I appreciate and tell them “thank you” for being who they are. Just this week I parked in a parking garage and was horrified when I went to pay the fee and found that I had no money, no driver’s license, no nothing on my person. When I rolled down my window, I confessed my demise to the young man collecting fees, telling him I had a whopping 75 cents, but that was all. He graciously offered to cover the other $2 that I owed. Guess who is getting cookies?
In addition, I will share cookies with my local librarians, post office workers, mail carriers, a ministry group that I am a part of, neighbors – the list is endless! I am going to have so much fun showing up as the “Cookie Queen” and sharing the sweetness of the season with people I appreciate. I am planning to take pictures at every stop so I can chronicle the joy of giving through Cookies Across America.
Here’s a fun cookie sharing tip if you need some ideas, take a bucket of raw cookie dough to a holiday gathering and your own pan and parchment paper so that you can make the cookies fresh. Who can resist the smell of fresh baked cookies? No one I know! You can even leave some of the dough behind for the host as a sweet “thank you” if you wish.
I hope you’ll join in the fun with me, exercise your creativity and generosity, and bake Cookies Across America. Get ready to collect and tell your stories!
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