Against All Odds...

After a full week of preparation, and two and a half straight days of baking into the wee hours of the night, the 2011 Cookie Bonanza offerings are finally complete. My plan for scaling back this year in light of my ongoing move went out the window sometime last weekend, and I ended up with eleven cookies in my line-up -- four more than I made last year and the year before. Because I left out the elaborately decorated sugar cookies that have headlined my offerings in years past, instead of using the extra time to relax or focus on packing my belongings, I ended up using the extra time to produce four additional cookies. Even without the iced sugar cookies, I feel like I've truly outdone myself this year.

I'm particularly proud that I managed to address the problems that I diagnosed with last year's lineup, namely a lack of sandwich cookies and something caramel-nut flavored. I filled those voids with the gianduja sandwich cookies, and the macadamia nut sticky bars I tested (and loved) earlier this year. I have my usual chocolate peppermint, citrus, and spice offerings, along with a couple fruit-based cookies and several nutty options. There is truly something for everyone.

I also employed a range of methods in preparing my selections. There are bars, drop cookies, molded cookies, pressed cookies, sandwich cookies, thumbprint cookies, hand-shaped cookies, and even biscotti. The only weakness I can identify is that I'm lacking a slice-and-bake icebox cookie this year. This could be a reaction to last year, when I felt I had too many.

All in all, everyone received 29 cookies in their assortment, which included the following:
Could I have benefited from some editing? Possibly, but I really was deeply engulfed in a manic state while I was baking everything. Earlier today, when it deceptively seemed like I might finish early, I very nearly attempted to add a twelfth cookie to the assortment, mostly likely some type of macaroon, given the preponderance of extra egg whites I'm facing in my fridge. Justin balked, and eventually, I came to my senses, mostly because I had already printed off the labels for the boxes listing the eleven types of cookies I had already baked, but also because I completely and utterly hate coconut. Now that I've finished barely cramming all the cookies into boxes, and am so tired I can barely hold my eyes open, I can see the wisdom in Justin's urging of moderation in this one instance. 

I'm taking the boxes to eleven of my coworkers tomorrow, and I'm excited to make their days with the gift of homemade goodness. This will be my final Cookie Bonanza in the kitchen that started it all, and with its completion, it will be time to start boxing up my considerable collection of baking paraphernalia. Stay tuned next year, as I get acquainted with my new oven, and start the long process of vetting options for the Cookie Bonanza 2012!

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