ONE of the things that I love to do during Christmastime is baking cookies. I really look forward to doing that. Apart from the fact that I truly enjoy baking up fresh batches of cookies – as well as muffins, cupcakes, cakes and pastries – and that I feel like a real pro whenever they turn out looking good and tasting just as good, baking cookies has given me extra income during Christmastime.
In the past few years, I have been accepting orders for cookies for Christmas. I’ve made hundreds of boxes of my special Choco Chip Oatmeal Walnut Cookies for the Christmas giveaways of FLAVORS Magazine to clients, advertisers and friends. I’ve also put together gift boxes of freshly baked cookies for FLAVORS’ sister company. Also for some friends. This is why my schedule during the whole month of December leading up to Christmas Day has always been quite crazy. I spend weekends making cookie dough and freezing them in ready-to-bake cookie balls. There have been times when making cookie dough during weekends would not be enough, so I had to make more every night, upon reaching home from work. I would calculate the number of cookie balls I would need, and then bake them fresh in the morning and systematically pack them in plastic bags, seal them and package them in Christmas boxes with ribbon. My husband Raff would help me cool the cookies down to room temperature and then package them.
Almost every year, I would change my packaging. I have picked up the habit of visiting the showroom of my gift box provider come November of every year, pick out the design that I like, estimate how many I would be needing and order them. I source my cookie bags from another place, where I also get my wholesale flour, but my choco chips come from elsewhere. My supplier for walnuts is also a different company. I source them straight from an importer simply because it’s the best and the freshest. Only the best will do, and by this time I already know where to get the best of each ingredient that I need, down to the packaging.
After completing the orders and delivering them, I would then set aside December 23 and 24 to make cookies for my own giveaways, especially for family, friends and our neighbors.
This year, I didn’t need to make cookies for the company, and my husband Raff heaved a huge sigh of relief. He appreciated the extra income, but he didn’t like seeing me slaving over batches upon batches of cookies day in and day out. This year, he wanted us to be able to enjoy the Christmas season like normal people do, and so, when he put his foot down on whether I should accept orders or not, I ‘obeyed.’ I limited my orders, and we were both happy. I did still spend my weekends in the kitchen, but only baking cookies for family, friends, clients and neighbors, and baking something else – such as cupcakes and cakes – that I had wanted to try for so long but haven’t found the time for. I just made Green Tea Cupcakes this afternoon, whose recipe I would be sharing with you tomorrow – and I’ve got, on hand, quite a number of other recipes that I would find time to bake (and some savory dishes that I plan to whip up) for the rest of the Christmas break. I’ve still got a week before I would need to go back to work. But, of course, I would have to divide that time doing lots of other stuff, too.