Cookiepalooza! How to Make Almost 200 Christmas Cookies In One Day

With a few great recipes, a solid game plan, and a single epic day of baking, you and a buddy can make enough goodies to blanket the neighborhood, charm the babysitter, win brownie points with coworkers—and have plenty left over for Santa.
Alex, Amelie and Cecily McAndrews

From left: Alex, 2, steals the show (and a cookie or two!). His mom, Amelie McAndrews, is an equine veterinarian and an ace baker. Cecily is an editor at the magazine.

Amelie, my older sister, and I share the same smile, the same sense of humor, and the same gene-deep love of cookies. (We get it from our mom.) 

As a teen, I baked chocolate chip cookies for Amelie and her (three years older, cooler) friends in a bid to join in on their fun. It worked…sometimes. She went off to college in Michigan, and I missed her back home in Connecticut. So I made cookies and mailed them to her dorm. In return, I got CD mixes and college T-shirts, which made me feel very worldly indeed. 

Cookies in a gift box

Eventually, she made her way back to the East Coast with her husband, Joe. That first year, a few weeks before the holidays, she called me with a crazy idea: Let’s make all the Christmas cookies in one go—together—and give them as gifts. We called it Cookiepalooza. Through moves, job changes, my time at culinary school, and the arrival of her son, Alex, (and, coming soon, a second kid!) we’ve kept it up. 

Sure, it’s nuts. But Cookiepalooza is also one of the best days of the year. We play music, catch up, cuddle Alex, try new recipes, and occasionally burn a few cookies. And although we’re gifting other people with treats, what we’re giving each other is time—a few luxurious hours when we answer only to the oven timer and each other. I can’t think of anything sweeter.

Alex licking spatula Amelie laughs

I’m so excited to pass this on to the next generation. I hope they enjoy it as much we do." —Amelie 

Ready to throw your own Cookiepalooza? The key to success is organization (and caffeine). Here’s how we pull it off.

Cookiepalooza schedule

Don't Forget This Stuff!

Besides groceries (get the shopping list here), these are your essentials:

• Parchment paper (get lots!)
• Piping bags or gallon-size freezer bags
• Plastic wrap
• Cookie scoops, 1- and 1 1/2-tbsp. capacity
• Food coloring
• Bakery boxes (for gifting)
• Bakery twine (for tying the boxes)
• Gift labels
• Something super-easy for lunch (I recommend charcuterie, bread, cheese, and fruit—and, of course, rejected cookies)

Have your baking buddy bring:

• Extra cooling racks
• Mixing bowls
• Cookie sheets
• Plastic containers
• A spare hand mixer (or if she has the same type of stand mixer as you, just the bowl and the paddle attachment)

Unwrapping butter to put in mixer

Pro move: Set the butter out the night before so it’s soft when you’re ready to bake.

Shop Smart

Get the complete Cookiepalooza shopping list here. Yes, you really do need all that butter!

Make Space

Line your entire dining room table with parchment so you have a spot for all your cooled cookies.

Heat it Up

The toffee bakes first thing. Turn on the oven before you do anything else.

Get the Recipes:

Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee

Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee

Try our Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee

Buttery Sugar Cookies

Buttery Sugar Cookies

Try our Buttery Sugar Cookies

No-Roll Linzer Cookies

No-Roll Linzer Cookies

Try our No-Roll Linzer Cookies

Minty Chocolate-Covered Slice-and-Bakes

Minty Chocolate-Covered Slice-and-Bakes

Try our Minty Chocolate-Covered Slice-and-Bakes

Fennel-Citrus Greek Tea Cookies

Fennel-Citrus Greek Tea Cookies

Try our Fennel-Citrus Greek Tea Cookies

Chewy Lots-of-Ginger Cookies

Chewy Lots-of-Ginger Cookies

Try our Chewy Lots-of-Ginger Cookies

Royal Icing

Royal Icing

Try our Royal Icing