Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2014

January 5, 2015Teresa

Teresa’s Bake Shop – Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2014

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2014 is here! For the past 36 years John and I have baked Christmas cookies for friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, service providers, our Sunday school class, Church staff and others who’ve made it to our Christmas cookie list. We enjoy providing these goodies but it is a LOT of work. I thought I would take you through the process we go through, as well as show you each of the cookies we made this year.

I remade a lot of cookies this year from cookies I previously posted on my blog so I could get some better looking pictures than I originally took back in the early days of my blog. Ten out of 24 cookies we made this year were remakes. I also tried several new recipes, as well as remaking old recipes in new ways to use up ingredients I had on hand.

We baked about 5,500 cookies for Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2014. I still have three trays of cookies in my freezer that I hope to give out this week to some friends we haven’t seen in a long time. All the rest were given away the week after we got home from Thanksgiving with my sister and her family. One of the nice things about cookies is that they freeze really well. We actually discovered a Sugar Cookie from last year in the bottom of our freezer when I was cleaning everything out in order to fill our freezers with this year’s cookies. It actually was still great. I thought it would be dried out after all that time, but my husband polished it off and said it was wonderful. We always tell our friends and family to freeze part of their cookies and enjoy them a little longer that way (rather than gorging and eating them all in one or two days). 😉

We bag each cookie or brownie individually, then we put the bags through a heat sealer. We apply the cookie labels on the back of each bag and then stuff the cookies into zip-lock bags because we can stuff more of them into our freezers that way. I have one large upright freezer, and 3 refrigerators that also have freezers. The freezers were packed to the gills with that many cookies. I had enough room to pack another couple of bags with 35-50 cookies each and that was it. Every bit of space was used.

Then once all the cookies are baked, I schedule a day to pack up all the cookies. All the cookie tins, trays and buckets are washed, then placed on every available table. It usually ends up being about 100. I start with the brownies and put them on the bottom of the containers first because they will absorb the weight of all the cookies being stacked on top of each other better. I started around 9 in the morning and it took me until the end of daylight before I was done packing all the buckets and trays. I get in about a 10-mile walk in the process!

After all the cookies are packed in the containers, I include a recipe flyer so anyone with food allergies can pick and choose which cookies they want to eat. Then I add the name labels on top of each container or tray to route each one to the right folks and then they’re ready to go. Those that aren’t packed for shipping, or taken to work places or friends immediately, are put back in the freezer to stay fresh until we’re able to make deliveries.

In order to pull off our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2014, I spent about three solid weeks working anywhere from 10-14 hour days, preparing and baking the cookies, taking pictures, bagging and sealing the cookies, then labeling them and putting them into the freezer. For someone who isn’t used to being on their feet that long each day, it was rather exhausting. I was one tired puppy when I was done with this project! No, I’m not 20 any more with lots of energy!

In the pictures that follow, I’ll show the process first, then I’ll include links to the 24 different cookies we made with any additional comments. I hope you will consider trying some of our cookies. I also have some excellent choices from 2012 or 2013.

CHRISTMAS COOKIE EXTRAVAGANZA – 2014

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 - IMG_5074

Cookies, cookies, cookies! Yum.

OUR CHRISTMAS COOKIE EXTRAVAGANZA – THE PROCESS:

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Start with a batch of cookies.  These Pina Colada Cookies were highly rated.        

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Unroll the poly bags. Place the cookie or brownie in the bag. This is a Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Raisin Bar. We had a lot of rave reviews over this one, too.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

This is a White Chocolate Toffee Peanut Butter Brownie. Slide the brownie into the bag.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Tear the bag off along the perforations.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Place the bag under the heat sealer for a few seconds.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Tear off the top part above the seal line.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

This is what the seal line looks like.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here is a tray of White Chocolate Toffee Peanut Butter Brownies ready to be sealed.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here’s the tray after the cookies have beens sealed in poly bags.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Then I print labels for each cookie. We went through a LOT of labels.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Add the label to the back of the cookies. My cute little logo was designed by a young teenager in our church who’s going to art school in Chicago this fall. She’s amazing.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

This was the first time I did labels. It was a lot easier for people to figure out what each cookie or brownie was, but it added a lot of extra man hours!

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here the cookies are bagged, sealed and labeled and ready to be put in zip-lock bags for the freezer.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Now the cookies are ready for the freezer. I had them in the freezer about two-three weeks before I was ready to pack them up after Thanksgiving.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here I’m ready to start packing the cookies into the trays, buckets and tins.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

All the cookies are hauled out of the freezers and placed on every available counter space in my kitchen.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here are some of the trays and buckets. I also have my kitchen loaded with about 20 trays, and about 20 more in the room behind where this picture is being taken.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here’s the popcorn tins and buckets. 

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

The buckets get at least two of everything. I start by placing all the brownies on the bottom so they absorb the weight of the cookies.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Cookies that are fragile or with icing always get placed on the top of the other cookies in the containers.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here are the cookies before adding the Coconut Date Balls.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here the buckets are packed.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Here are some of the trays.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

We send a lot of trays to service providers and for different departments at John’s workplace. We wrap them up tightly with plastic wrap for delivery.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

All these buckets take a LOT of cookies! I try to wedge the cookies in carefully so they fill the buckets.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

We’ve always liked to fill our Christmas buckets with a wide variety of cookies.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Now I’ve added my recipes and tips for baking the cookies.

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2014 | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Put the lids on the containers and add name labels! Get ready to ship or deliver the goodies.

CHRISTMAS COOKIE EXTRAVAGANZA – 2014 – THE COOKIES:

Blueberry Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Blueberry Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | my family raved over these amazing #cookies. They're made with dried #blueberries, #oatmeal & #VanillaChips. It's one of the best #OatmealCookies you'll ever eat! Terrific for #holiday parties or a #ChristmasCookieExchange. #dessert #BlueberryVanillaChipOatmealCookies #BlueberryDessert

My husband loved these cookies, and he wasn’t alone. A lot of folks enjoyed having a cookie with blueberries!

Chocolate Snickers Cookies

Chocolate Snickers Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Who can resist cookies made with Snickers bars?

Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Raisin Bars

Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Raisin Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these fantastic #cookies are the ultimate in #OatmealRaisinCookies. They're filled with golden #raisins, #Oatmeal & loads of #CinnamonChips. They're super rich so they'll cure any sweet tooth craving you have. #CinnamonDessert #OatmealRaisinDessert #tailgating #cinnamon #ChristmasCookieExchange #brownie #CinnamonChipOatmealRaisinBars

We had rave reviews over these. They are so rich and sweet.

Cinnamon Frosted Snickerdoodle Blondies

Cinnamon Frosted Snickerdoodle Blondies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these #cookies will knock your socks off! They are rich, decadent & absolutely heavenly. They'll sure satisfy any sweet tooth craving you have. Perfect for #holiday or #Christmas parties too. #snickerdoodles #cinnamon #dessert #SnickerdoodleDessert #HolidayDessert #CinnamonFrostedSnickerdoodleBlondies

This was one of my personal favorites. But that’s because I enjoy icing on cookies and I love cinnamon.

Coconut Date Balls

Coconut Date Balls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | our most loved #Christmas #cookie! Everyone always raves over them. Perfect for #holiday baking & parties. #dessert

These are always a crowd favorite.

Cranberry Nut Vanilla Chip Bars

Cranberry Nut Vanilla Chip Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these amazing #brownies include dried #cranberries, Vanilla chips & #walnuts. They're terrific for #holiday & #Christmas parties. They're rich, decadent & heavenly. #Dessert #HolidayDessert #CranberryDessert #ChristmasCookie #ChristmasCookieExchange

We had a lot of people tell us this was their favorite goodie this year.

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Sandwiches

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these spectacular #OatmealCookies feature #ChocolateChips in the #cookies and a #chocolate #fudge frosting sandwiched between to die for! Amazing #dessert for #holiday #ChristmasCookie baking. #ChristmasCookieExchange #FallBaking #DoubleChocolateOatmealSandwiches #ChocolateFudgeFrosting #HolidayDessert

These cookies are incredible anytime we make them.

Ghirardelli’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ghirardelli's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these fabulous #ChocolateChipCookies are made with #GlutenFree flour & #GhirardellisChocolateChips. Mouthwatering & scrumptious treat for #holiday #baking. #ChristmasCookieExchange #Chocolate #ChocolateChips #GlutenFreeDessert #ChocolateDessert #GhirardellisGlutenFreeChocolateChipCookies #HolidayDessert #Ghirardellis

Everyone really loved these gluten free cookies. Even though they are a crunchy cookie rather than a soft and chew cookie these were one of the most spoken about cookies this year. No one could believe they were gluten free.

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | this ooey, gooey, lemony, decadent #dessert has always been my son's favorite #cookie #recipe. We've always loved making them for the #Christmas #holidays. This easy & economical dessert will have you drooling from the first bite! #lemon #LemonSquares #LemonDessert #HolidayDessert

These are my number two son’s favorite cookies. After all the work he did getting my blog transferred to a more dependable blog hosting service I had to make his favorite cookies, though this was unplanned when I started Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2014. I also made extra bars and sent my son his own bucket of just lemon squares!

M&M Chocolate Cookies

M&M Chocolate Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

Who doesn’t enjoy a cookie with M&M’s?

M&M Funfetti Cookies

M&M Funfetti Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these spectacular #cookies are filled with both #MMs & #funfetti #sprinkles! They are so drool-worthy. Every bite will have you coming back for more. Great #dessert for #tailgating or #Christmas parties, potlucks, or summer #holiday fun. #chocolate #ChocolateDessert #MMDessert #FunfettiDessert

These turned out so wonderfully. I loved these.

M&M Gooey Butter Cake Bars

M&M Gooey Butter Cake Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these fabulous #Gooey ButterCake #cookies are rich and heavenly. Every bite will have you drooling. Adding #MMs is so scrumptious. Terrific #dessert for #MemorialDay or other summer #holiday fun. #brownie #chocolate #ChocolateDessert #MMDessert

These got rave reviews when we sent them as extra cookies to John’s office staff.

M&M Peanut Butter Cookies

M&M Peanut Butter Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these spectacular #cookies are divine! They're filled with #PeanutButter and #MMs! What's not to love? They'll cure any sweet tooth craving. Wonderful for #holiday #baking & #ChristmasCookieExchanges. #chocolate #PeanutButterCookies #ChocolateDessert #PeanutButterDessert #MMDessert #MMPeanutButterCookies

Everyone loved these jewels.

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | some of our favorite #brownies ever! #chocolatechips are swirled into a delicious #peanutbutter #brownie batter. Rich, decadent, heavenly! #dessert #chocolate

These have always been a family favorite and they’re so quick and easy to make up.

Pina Colada Cookies

Pina Colada Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these spectacular #Christmas #cookies have #pineapple, #coconut, #almonds, #candiedcherries & vanilla chips. They are out of this world good! Perfect for #holiday #baking & #ChristmasCookie Exchanges. #dessert #CherryDessert #PineappleDessert #PinaColada #ChristmasCookieExchange

This new creation was one of everyone’s favorites this year.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these favorite #Christmas #cookies use #pumpkin, fresh #cranberries & have a #cinnamon frosting on top with #sprinkles! Terrific #dessert for #fall baking.

These cookies got the most raves over everything I made this year. Everyone loved having the cranberries in the pumpkin cookies.

Raisin Spice Bars

Raisin Spice Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these luscious #cookies are filled with #raisins & #pecans. Terrific #dessert any time of the year. They have a rich, #lemon buttercream icing. #brownie #RaisinSpiceBars #Tailgating #Holiday #HolidayDessert #ChristmasCookieExchange #SpiceCookies #RaisinCookies

This brownie is lovely with the tasty lemon buttercream icing on top.

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these sensational 6-ingredient #cookies are perfect for the #holidays & #Christmas #baking. They start with a #RedVelvet #cakemix making them so quick & easy. #Dessert #RedVelvetCookies #RedVelvetDessert #ChristmasDessert #ChristmasCookieExchange

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies are always favorites.

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cake Bars

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cake Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | the most awesome #RedVelvet #Brownies ever! The luscious #cheesecake layer is ooey, gooey, decadent & delicious! Terrific #ValentinesDay #dessert.

These spectacular brownies were also raved over big time. They are such drool-worthy cookies!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Candy Chocolate Cookies

Reese's Peanut Butter Candy Chocolate Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these #cookies are the ultimate #ReesesCookie! These #chocolate cookies are filled with #ReesesPeanutButterCandies. They're terrific for #holiday & #Christmas parties & a great way to use up leftover #Halloween candy. #PeanutButter #PeanutButterDessert #ChocolateDessert #ChristmasCookieExchange #dessert #ReesesPeanutButterCandyChocolateCookies

Peanut butter and chocolate just go so well together and I made a lot of peanut butter and chocolate combinations this year.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies

Reese's Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen
Reese's Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these chocolaty #cookies are heavenly. They're filled with #ReesesPeanutButterChips. #Chocolate & #PeanutButter are awesome together. This #dessert is marvelous for #holiday #baking or a #ChristmasCookieExchange. #tailgating #ChocolateDessert #PeanutButterDessert #ReesesPeanutButterChipChocolateCookies

Here’s another peanut butter and chocolate cookie! We have made this one lots of time over the years.

Toffee Almond Sandies

Toffee Almond Sandies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these irresistible #cookies are filled with #almonds & #HeathEnglishToffeeBits. They are absolutely mouthwatering & delightful for #holiday parties, #tailgating or #ChristmasCookieExchanges. Everyone raves over this amazing #dessert. #toffee #ToffeeAlmondSandies #ToffeeDessert #baking

This is another of my personal favorites. These cookies rock. I’m one of those odd balls that prefer cookies without chocolate most of the time.

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these over-the-top #cookies will knock your socks off! They're filled with white #chocolate chips, #pecans & #candiedcherries. They're awesome for #holiday #baking & #Christmas #cookie exchanges. #dessert #cherrydessert #ChristmasDessert #whitechocolatedessert #chocolatedessert #whitechocolate

These cookies were also very well received. If you enjoy cherries they’re a dream.

White Chocolate Toffee Peanut Butter Brownies

White Chocolate Toffee Peanut Butter Bars | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | Everyone raves over these #brownies when we make them. They'e super rich, decadent & absolutely divine! They will cure any sweet tooth craving you have. #toffee #dessert #chocolate #cookies #whitechocolate #HeathEnglishToffeeBits #ChocolateDessert #ToffeeDessert #peanutbutter #PeanutButterDessert #Tailgating #TailgatingDessert

These were also highly touted my many of our friends.

You may also enjoy these helpful posts!

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2012

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2012 - Christmas Cookies 028

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2013

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza - 2013 - IMG_7522

Tips for Baking Cookies

Tips for Baking Cookies - 81 - IMG_6106

5 Comments

  • Christmas Cookie Extravaganza 2012 – Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

    November 18, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    […] Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2014 […]

  • Chocolate Layer Bars – Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen

    October 23, 2015 at 9:36 am

    […] I failed to note where the recipe originated from. We have made this recipe several times for our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza. I’ve also made it lots of times whenever I wanted a delicious dessert to take along to a […]

  • Fudge Frosted Brownies – Can't Stay Out Of The Kitchen

    January 7, 2015 at 10:06 am

    […] these Fudge Frosted Brownies look marvelous? Fudge Frosted Brownies have been on our Christmas Cookie baking list many, many times over the past 30 […]

  • Miriam

    January 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    How do you frost the cookies/bars and then bag them without the frosting sticking to the bag. Do you freeze the frosted cookies as well and if so how is the consistancy of the frosting after freezing?

    1. Teresa

      January 5, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Hi, Miriam, I’m so glad you stopped by my blog. I allow the frosting to dry on the cookie about 30 minutes before bagging them up. (It does help when there are sprinkles on top, but I don’t usually put sprinkles on top of every iced cookie. We do routinely freeze some of the gooey bars or ones with icing on top before cutting and bagging as it really does help the process go a lot smoother. Sometimes the bags do get gooey and I have to double bag them or wipe icing and goo away as I’m bagging. Usually we have more difficulty with melted chocolate chips rather than frosting. The frosting tastes fine after freezing. We’ve never had any problems. Almost in every case, it’s the frosted cookies that everyone raves over the most each year.

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