When you put together a plate of cookies for party guests (or Santa Claus), don’t just dump a dozen onto a platter and walk away. Curate. Here, cookie genius Matt Lewis of Brooklyn’s Baked bakery shares his top tips for creating the perfect plate of cookies.
1. Always include old-school favorites.
“A cookie plate should be 50 percent nostalgia,” Lewis says. He always includes peanut butter blossoms (“the one and only cookie my mom made consistently for 25 Christmases in a row,” he says), chocolate crinkles (“I’m totally obsessed”) and shortbread. “My grandmother on my dad’s side is Scottish, she always had shortbread,” he says. “Growing up I would never eat it, but now I have to have it on every cookie plate.”
2. Add in some newer cookie styles.
“It’s fun to do something new and different—something unexpected,” Lewis says. That can mean anything from sandwich cookies to homemade Ho Hos to super-mini tarts.
3. Make sure it looks Christmas-y.
“If you’re putting together a cookie plate in December, you have to have something red and green,” he says. “It can be sprinkles or the actual cookie itself.” Lewis also likes to use cookie cutters shaped like Christmas trees, Santas or candy canes.
4. The more cookies, the better the plate.
When it comes to a holiday cookie platter, there’s no room for restraint. “I can’t stop myself,” Lewis says. “We had a party last Christmas, and instead of doing just four types of cookies, we made 12.”
5. Keep cookie type with cookie type.
Lewis insists that the cookies not co-mingle too much. Each type of cookie should be with its like type on the plate. “I’m like that with regular food, too,” he says. “I would never mix my mashed potatoes with my turkey.”
6. Serve with booze, not milk.
“There has to be cider or wine or glögg in sight at all times,” Lewis says. “We almost always opt for something alcoholic instead of milk.”
7. Pay attention to the platter.
For the most part, Lewis opts for a minimalist-style platter. “It’s more Instagrammable,” he says. “It lets the cookies shine.” But he will occasionally break out a tacky holiday plate. “Just have fun with it,” he says. “This is the time to bring out your reindeer plates.”
8. Make the cookies ahead of time.
“Try to make the cookies the day or the night before,” Lewis says. “You don’t want to be making them the day of the party. I learned that the hard way.” He recommends storing the cookies in Tupperware, with each layer of cookies separated by a piece of parchment paper.