Cookies for a Sweet Holiday
Every holiday has its signature dessert, and while some like a bûche de noël, let’s be honest: Who doesn’t want a plate or bag of holiday cookies?
When it comes to celebrating the winter holidays, people want to gather with friends and family and dessert. Cookies, in particular, allow people to connect to happy holiday memories.
“We have the fun of nostalgia and have an opportunity to play with that to bring people back to their childhood and own family tradition,” says Leigh Omilinsky, executive pastry chef of Boka Restaurant Group’s Bellemore, Swift & Sons and Cold Storage. “Everybody loves cookies.”
Swift & Sons has a chocolate trolley rolling through the dining room, enticing customers with sweets throughout the year and will add cookies, like Snickerdoodles, for the holidays. Omilinsky also loves packaging sweets for gifting and suggests looking to Pinterest or Bags & Bows, a retail packaging company, for inspiration.
Stacy Begin, owner of Portland, Maine, bakery Two Fat Cats, adds that packaging should not only look pretty, but also helpful.
“It should have a nice logo on it and also the ingredient list,” Begin says.
“That’s so important with dietary restrictions and allergens.”
Begin plays around with winter flavors, like adding citrus, cinnamon or coffee granules, to elevate a possibly bland sugar cookie. She also adds jams—blueberry, apricot, apple butter—to macaroons for more flavor. As for getting people to buy more, Begin says to give tempt with a taste.
“Having mini cookies by the host stand or with the check and a note that says, ‘Take these home with you,’ would be nice,” she suggests.
Chicago’s Petit Margeaux goes one step further in sending people home with sweets. They offer holiday cookie decorating kits with two sugar cookies, mini bags of icing and a bag of sprinkles
“Some of my favorite memories involve my family making holiday sugar cookies and decorating them with all the candies you can imagine,” says Petit Margeaux pastry chef Ashley Torto. “It’s a fun, interactive way to help people create memories.”
And that is certainly sweet.