The Cookie Plate: A Bad, Bad, Idea
For most of the year, all my cookie needs are met by Oreos, Nutter Butters—especially Nutter Butters—and homemade cookies made by other people. But right about when the holiday season rolls in, a change comes over me. I begin hoarding flour, sugar, and Plugra. I check my supplies of nuts and vanilla. I shake off the baking malaise that’s plagued me the previous eleven months. And then, usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I launch into a disciplined program of weekend baking—all the while heedful of Brian’s cookie-specific kleptomanic tendencies. The result? By mid-December, my freezer is filled with drop cookies, shaped cookies, sliced cookies, and pressed cookies to distribute to friends, parents, bosses, and doormen.
After all this effort and time spent in the kitchen—when, frankly, I’d rather be enjoying a 3-Bloody-Mary brunch at Prune, or hitting golf balls at Chelsea Piers—the last thing I’m going to do is cram my cookies onto flimsy paper Santa Claus plates, with the crumbs mingling and flavors melding into a sweet, buttery mess. There is a better way. Surely there are many better ways. But one thing is key: no matter how you package your cookies for giving, be sure to wrap each type individually to preserve the integrity of the flavors.
I like to use white bakery boxes, which here in New York are available in an assortment of sizes from The Broadway Panhandler. To package the cookies, first I line the boxes with colorful tissue paper. Next, I wrap each cookie variety neatly in a plastic sandwich bag, and nestle the bags in rows in the tissue-lined box. Any excess plastic bag material I bundle underneath the cookies. Then I just close up the box and tie with ribbon. Now that’s a pretty package. And delicious, too!