Baking Day

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Plan your own Baking Day with friends and family where you bake cookies and make candy for the holidays together. Share the costs, the work, and spoils so everyone leaves with a boat load of Christmas treats. It might be your new favorite tradition!

Gingerbread cookies on a baking sheet.


In the Midwest, people love to get together to make cookies and candy for the holidays. When I was growing up, it was always my mom, grandma, aunt, my mom’s aunt, and my sisters and me (I was young and only helped with taste-testing).

They would choose a dozen or so cookie and candy recipes and split the cost of the ingredients to make double or triple batches of everything. Then, they would get together one day and mix, bake, and frost with reckless abandon.

They shared they work and they divided their spoils. Everybody went home with an equal share of all the treats after having completed 20% of the work. It’s a day of fun, cookies, and life-long memories!

Ready to plan your own epic Baking Day?

Choose Your Crew

A group of 3-4 people works best. Fewer than that means you won’t be able to crank out 10-12 recipes in a day. More than that and you’ll have too many cooks in the kitchen!

Talk to your brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, anyone who likes to bake. You’ll also need a host: The person who will host the Baking Day extravaganza.

Including kids? Consider this adorable baking set to inspire their future pastry chef dreams!

Choose Your Date

You’ll want to plan a full day to get through all your recipes. Weekends are often a solid choice for everyone involved.

Choose Your Recipes

Aim for 2-3 recipes per person. For a group of 4, you might be able to knock out 12 recipes in a day. It depends on everyone’s comfort level in the kitchen and whether you are making brand-new recipes or old family favorites.

You’ll probably want a mix of cookies and candy and different styles of making them (some rolled cookies, some drop cookies, some slice-and-bake cookies). If you choose 8 candy recipes that involve manually dipping small things in chocolate, you won’t have a lot of fun.

Make Your Shopping List

Once you’ve chosen all the recipes, make a list of everything needed to prepare all the recipes on your list. Use my handy shopping list template if that helps you.

Also verify who has cookie cutters, sprinkles, take-home containers, and anything else you may need for the big day. If the host only has a couple of baking sheets, ask others to bring some to supplement (be sure to keep track of whose is whose).

Make Your Game Plan

Look over the recipes you’ve chosen and try to choose a logical order for execution. Consider what kitchen equipment you have and which recipes will need it. Some recipes require that the dough chill for 2 hours or more, so start with those recipes (or divide them up so multiple people can get started at the same time).

If a recipe is extremely intensive, such as preparing royal icing and frosting cookies with intricate decorations, perhaps give that person fewer recipes overall. Try to divide the recipes in a fair manner so that everything can be accomplished efficiently and joyfully.

Consider Refreshments

No matter how many master bakers are in your crew, Baking Day always takes all day. That’s why it’s called Baking Day!

Ideally, plan an easy slow cooker soup or stew for lunch (or order takeout). My aunt’s Corn Chowder was always our go-to: it’s hearty, filling, and the perfect antidote to the endless treats you’ll be sampling all day!

Drop Cookies

Drop Cookies are some of the easiest cookies to make. All you need to do is drop prepared cookie dough with a spoon or scoop onto a baking sheet. Just be sure to leave enough space for the cookies to spread (chilled dough will spread less than room-temperature or warm dough).

Cranberry cookies with white chocolate on a gray plate.


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Molded Cookies

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Rolled Cookies

Also known as Cut-out Cookies, rolled cookies are made from dough that has been chilled, then rolled out flat. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, biscuit rounds, a pastry wheel, or a knife. You can frost rolled cookies or roll them again into shapes such as with Rugelach.

Frosted sugar cookies decorated for Christmas on a baking rack.


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Bar Cookies

Falling somewhere between a cookie and cake, Bar Cookies are soft and chewy and often contain mix-ins or are decorated on top. Instead of baking individual cookies on a baking sheet, you press bar dough into a baking pan, then cut the finished bars into individual slices.

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Pressed Cookies

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Spritz cookies on a cooling rack.


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Waffle Cookies

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Pizzelle cookies being dusted with powdered sugar.



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Slice-and-Bake Cookies

Also known as Refrigerator Cookies or Icebox Cookies, slice-and-bake cookie dough is wrapped in a log shape parchment or plastic wrap and chilled. Once chilled, slice cookies with a knife, place them on a baking sheet, and bake.

Fruitcake cookies on a cooling rack.


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Homemade Candy

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A stack of Christmas crack on a plate.


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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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  1. I cannot get anything to come up when I try to get recipe for Christmas crack. I am very familiar with eating this at Christmas with certain friends but do not have a recipe for it. When I try here it says “page not found”.