How To Assemble a Showstopping Cookie Box

Photography, Food Styling, and Recipe Development by Erin Clarkson

Sleigh your next cookie swap by making your own version of our Holiday Cookies 2018 special issue cover star: an epic cookie box filled with a collage of homemade holiday cookies and sweets. Crafty baking blogger Erin Clarkson, the brains behind Cloudy Kitchen and our cover star, guides us through the process, sharing her top tips.

  1. Pick a medley of cookies. “I like the idea of a curated box that has an assortment of cookies, plus some surprise nibbles and treats. Include cookies with a variety of shapes, from simple round snickerdoodles to snowflake-shaped sugar cookies. Play with a range of textures, including chewy fudge and crisp shortbread. Inject pops of color—my bright red macarons, golden Hokey Pokey candy, and blushing Pinky Bar Cookies help pump up the color scheme. Use peppermint sticks, sprinkles, and your favorite confections as tasty placeholders and cheerful accents. Tackling six original cookie recipes can be daunting, so use my Cookie Prep Timeline to help build an approachable three-day baking schedule!”
  2. Add a personal touch. “A cookie swap is like a cultural exchange; we’re sharing not just cookies but memories, too. I like to include cookies that represent a part of my Kiwi family and upbringing. The Pinky Bar Cookies were inspired by a classic New Zealand candy bar my grandfather gave me every Christmas. Make your cookies signature to you.”
  3. Build your box. “I started with an open wooden box (I used Wooden Photo Box by ArtMinds), but you can easily sub in a large cookie tin or the handmade pine CookieBox with built-in dividers by PieBox. If making your own dividers to separate your cookies, use parchment paper liners, cardboard dividers, or modeler’s wood (a.k.a. balsa wood), which cuts really easily with a box cutter. Secure your cardboard or soft wood pieces in place with putty or glue. When in doubt, just organize your cookies and confections by type, no sectionals needed. Stack the cookies, pile them up, tie them together with twine, or turn the, on their side—it’s all about breaking up the pattern!”

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