For the annual cookie exchange, my neighbor pours her heart into baking batch after batch of crisp shortbread, rich chocolate chip and fragrant gingerbread cookies. Then she spends an ambitious weekend decorating scores of sugar cookies in lavish designs.
She confides that, this year, her group will award a prize for the most creative presentation and packaging for a dozen cookies. “Any suggestions?” she asks me.
Based on experience, I know I am the wrong person to ask. I don’t excel at packaging or gift-wrapping anything.
Thankfully, the experts are just a Google search away on the web. Many sites share a wealth
of ideas for wrapping, labeling, boxing, plating and presenting cookies.
Here are some of my favorite resources. Each offers clever, imaginative and simple ways to present and package your cookie treasures:
What is your favorite way to package or gift-wrap cookies?
Today's Cookie Recipe
Our week of cookie baking continues with a classic shortbread cookie recipe. You have two options for shaping these crisp, wafer-like cookies. First, you can roll out chilled dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Or, form the dough into a log and chill in the refrigerator. When you're ready to bake, slice into thin disks.
Shortbread Cookie Recipe
This recipe, created for us by Maury Rubin, proprietor of the renowned City Bakery in New York City, makes rich and buttery cookies that are fun to make into shapes and decorate.
1. Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attached. Mix on low speed until butter softens slightly. With the mixer running, add the sugar to the butter with a slow, constant pouring motion.
2. Stop the mixer and add half of the flour. Mix on low speed until flour is partly incorporated. Stop mixing and add the remaining flour. Mix on slow speed until flour is just combined into the butter. Do not overmix.
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Shape dough into cylindrical log, if desired, before chilling.
4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line cookie baking sheets with parchment paper. On a cutting lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness, and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. If you have previously rolled the dough into a log, slice into disks.
5. Place the cookies on the baking sheets, sprinkle with colored sugar or decoratifs, if desired, and bake until lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool slightly, and then transfer to racks to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container. Makes around 24 cookies.