If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I’ve had a very hectic week. Last Wednesday, I decided to do a 24-hour bakeathon (yes, that is 24 hours of straight baking!), partly for fun and partly to get my holiday gift boxes done. I was inspired by a close family friend, who used to do these for her birthday, and I had always wondered what it was like.
To make a long story short, it was successful but so tiring. I managed to make around 700 cookies, 31 mini babkas, and 15 servings of furikake Chex mix within 24-hours. The only thing that I prepped the day before was the lemon curd for my lemon thumbprint cookies (more on that below). Would I do it again? Maybe… but probably not for a while.
Now, let’s talk cookie boxes.
In previous years, my cookie boxes have been much smaller than these. I usually choose three varieties and go from there, but since I was embarking on a 24-hour bake, I decided to ramp up production. I also ended up selling 10 of these boxes (thank you to everyone who purchased one) so that I could spread the holiday cheer. Here are the cookies I decided to include this year, the reason why I chose them, and their respective recipes:
I make these three cookies every year, so they were the first recipes to go on my list!
Gingerbread cookies with royal icing
These were a no brainer. I believe that every holiday cookie box needs to include a gingerbread cookie because is it really a holiday box without it? I use the same family recipe every year and it always results in perfectly spiced cookies. I prefer mine slightly soft, but I included some crispier ones in each box so there was something for everyone.
I made one gingerbread man and 6 small stars for every box. I decorated the gingerbread men and 3 stars each with royal icing and sprinkles. I wanted to make sure to keep some plain because I know some people prefer them that way (me included!).
Royal icing recipe is from NYT Cooking. I might post the gingerbread recipe on this site in the near future!
Snickerdoodles are my personal favorite, which is probably why I include them every year. There’s something about these chewy, cinnamon cookies that make me think of the holidays. This year, I opted for the coffee snickerdoodles that I posted a little while ago. The coffee just adds another dimension of flavor that I love. Plus, they’re super easy to make, and they don’t require any chilling time!
Coffee Snickerdoodle recipe is from Katie in Her Kitchen!
World Peace Cookies
Every cookie box must include something chocolatey. Some years I opt for a crinkle cookie, but I have been told by friends that nothing beats these World Peace cookies by Dorie Greenspan. The dough itself is packed with lots of cocoa powder, and then you add chocolate chunks on top of it! They’re slightly crisp, which was great since most of the cookies I chose were on the softer side.
World Peace Cookie recipe is from Dorie Greenspan.
Sugar Gem Cookies
I knew I wanted to include at least one type of sugar cookie. I had posted a recipe for these sugar gem cookies a little while ago, and they were so good that I knew I needed to include them. This time, I kept all the cookies plain (no matcha additions) but I did end up finding both green and red sugar sprinkles.
I decided to cut the cookies out with my mooncake mold, which made them look so fun. And I rolled the dough thin enough so that it kept its shape/design when baking.
Sugar Gem cookie recipe is from Katie in Her Kitchen!
Matcha Vanilla Peppermint Sugar Cookies
A Christmas variation of the Instagram-famous Neapolitan cookie. I had made the original version earlier this year and I loved how they tasted. I decided to make them for these holiday cookie boxes because I could make them sort of Christmas colored: green, pink, and white. I also decided to flavor the pink part of the cookie with peppermint. I added 2 tsp of peppermint extract, a couple of drops of red food coloring, and a bunch of crushed candy canes. I kept the matcha and vanilla flavors for the other 2/3rds of the dough.
The peppermint flavor worked wonderfully alongside the matcha and vanilla. They were soft and chewy on the inside, with a slight crunch on the outside from the sugar coating. And they really are so pretty.
Tricolor cookie recipe is originally from Sarah Kieffer’s 100 Cookies cookbook, but I used this recipe from Constellation Inspiration.
Lemon Shortbread Thumbprints
I knew I was missing a key element to a balanced cookie box: something fruity or jammy. This is my least favorite category of cookies (nothing bad about them, but they just aren’t my go-to), so I was stumped when deciding what to make. I quickly realized that everything in the box so far was super sweet, and I needed something tart to balance that out. We happened to have a bunch of ripe lemons from our garden, so I decided on lemon thumbprints!
First, I made a buttery lemon shortbread. To give them a more interesting look, I cut each cookie into star and heart shapes. Then, I pressed small indentations in the middle of each cookie to create a small well. Lastly, I filled them with a tart homemade lemon curd. These were a great addition, not only due to their tart flavor but because they’re crisp. It was important to me to have a good balance between textures as well.
I wanted to include a couple of treats that weren’t cookies, just to keep things interesting.
Furikake Chex Mix
Lastly, I decided to include a small bag of furikake Chex mix. I wanted to have something slightly savory since everything else is on the sweet side. I ended up just making a huge batch toward the beginning of the bakeathon (which is the nice thing about Chex mix). I used a mixture of Crispix, Wheat Chex, Honeycombs, Cheerios, and roasted peanuts.
Furikake Chex mix recipe is from Foodjimoto.
Hot Chocolate Babka Buns
I have not uploaded the recipe for these yet, but I will soon, I promise. I had the idea to make a hot chocolate flavored babka a little while ago, and I’ve been tinkering with it ever since. While these aren’t hard to make, they do take a good amount of time. It features a chocolate brioche, filled with a fudgy chocolate spread, and homemade marshmallow fluff. To finish it off, I topped each one with crushed candy canes.
These are so festive and absolutely delicious. I made them into small rolls so that I could include two in each box. The fillings are pretty easy to make (don’t be intimidated by homemade marshmallow fluff!), so I just had to make sure to time it right.
Hot Chocolate Babka recipe will be up on the blog sometime this week, so stay tuned!
24-Hour Bakeathon Time Lapse
I wanted to include this time-lapse video of the actual bakeathon (bad posture, messy kitchen, and all). 24-hours condensed into a little over 3 minutes!
And that’s it! I know this was a super long post, so if you got all the way to the end, thanks for reading. The bakeathon was super fun (and tiring) and I’m happy I got to bake all of these treats for family and friends.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!