With a very special occasion within ten days, I have been called into action.
Make 100s of cookies and bars in my kid’s kitchen, without my own cookbooks and equipment.
No problem. I still have Target, a USA superstore, and the Internet.
I soon learned. Not so fast. The first step in becoming a cookie factory is ORGANIZATION.
This is what I should have done.
Make a list of the variety of cookies and bars your family would like to have for this special occasion. After all, the table is going to represent them. Nonetheless, there should be a variety of tastes, shapes and even colors. Not all chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies. Find out who else is making these treats so that you have a variety and that you don’t wastefully make too much.
Pick out the recipes and estimate how much you will need to bake. Remember that, at special events, people like to “test- taste” rather than gobble. Make smaller cookies and portions. For example, if the recipe says it makes 40 regular-sized cookies, you can make about 60 smaller ones.
Next, make a list of the equipment you will need to accommodate baking for the multitudes. Check to see if it all works.
Handheld mixers are good for regular baking but not for baking for the multitude. Not only do they become tedious to hold for long periods but also the dough tends to clog-up the beaters thus requiring a lot of time to clean them off. Fortunately, my family had a more powerful stand-mixer. They hadn’t been used in 14 years. (A hint as to why I was called in to do the baking.)
Before you start baking, test the oven(s). Does it work? Is the temperature correct? Does it bake evenly? Repair before you have problems baking.
Make sure that you have the necessary equipment.
At least two big cookie sheets and two big baking trays fit in the oven.
I discovered a cookie scoop with “flippers” to eject the dough that truly saved my hand.
Get parchment paper to use instead of lots of grease on the sheets. Really makes a gigantic difference in cleaning up.
Use throw-away pans, making sure that they are the right size for the recipe.
I highly recommend using seal wrap instead of cling wrap because it is so much easier to handle and can be resealed if you need to peak in.
Before you go to buy the ingredients, I suggest that you prioritize what you are going to make. I got tired and ended up not making everything for which I had bought ingredients. Really a waste.
Organize your ingredient requirements so that you can benefit from sales and by going to a discount grocery. You will need lots of flour, white sugar, light and dark brown sugar and butter.
For items that are not discounted, you might consider buying them as you need them so that you are not left—for example–with too many sacks of butterscotch chips. (Unless you really like butterscotch chips!!!)
If the cookies are not going to be served in your own home, be sure to find out if there are any requirements for the organizations that will use them. Are there any limitations on ingredients? What time should they be delivered? In what kind of containers? Should the bars be pre-cut?
After the planning, comes the fun. Making the cookies, next posting.