What beats a plate full of cookies?
A pan full of warm cookies, straight out of the oven, served to a crowd in a get-em-while-they’re-hot fashion.
When planning a recent party I threw in my apartment, I got a little lazy with the menu. I have been trying to focus on make-ahead items for parties, so I can spend the time immediately before guests arrive cleaning up and getting myself ready, rather than finishing up a dish in the kitchen and filling the sink with used pans and spoons that I won’t have time to clean before the party starts. But this time, having my heart set on a few certain recipes combined with just a smidgen of laziness the day before the party, and very little was prepped in advance.
Also, I’m a procrastinator.
Dessert is often a course you can make in advance for a party, and I did have Ga’s Brownies at the ready. I also wanted to make cookies with coconut oil, and by the time I got around to making the dough the afternoon of the party, it dawned on me that I wouldn’t have time to refrigerate it for several hours before baking – which you often have to do with coconut oil so the cookies won’t melt too quickly in the oven. I shrugged, and punted, and ended up with whatever the football analogy would be for a punt turning out REALLY well.
I baked the cookies around 10:00 or 10:30pm, when the initial eating frenzy had died down and people were looking for something a little sweet or indulgent with their next cocktail. I had the right amount of dough for two cookie sheets’ worth, and I baked them in succession, serving them as they came out of the oven. I wanted to have a manageable number of trays in rotation (exactly one), which is important in a crowded room filled with people who have maybe had a drink or four.
Big hit. And I have no leftovers to show for it. Cookies are delicious, but simple; warm cookies are amazing.
Most cookie dough can be frozen in advance; to really prep these ahead of time, place a silpat or parchment paper on a jelly roll pan (with rimmed edges so nothing rolls off), and portion the cookies out on the pan. Place the tray in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then you can pick up the frozen portions and place them in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Store the bag in the freezer, and when you are ready to bake, just place the cookie dough portions on the baking sheet (greased/ungreased/parchment/silpat – however the recipe tells you to bake the cookies) and bake from frozen. They may need another minute or two in the oven, but probably not.
As I did here, you can also make the dough and place the bowl in the fridge (covered with plastic wrap) for a few hours, and use a cookie scoop to form the cookies from the dough that will have hardened in the fridge a bit. Another alternative is to portion the cookies on the pan and store it in the fridge (again, covered with plastic wrap), ready to go into the oven, but I personally would not have that kind of room in my fridge on the day of a party.
Try one of these recipes, which have all worked for me from frozen or refrigerated:
I will continue to complete this difficult research and will add to this list as I test more make-in-advance cookies.
The sacrifices I make for this blog, let me tell you.