Christmas is “cookie baking season”!!  Almost every home in America makes at least one batch of cookies during the holiday season.  Whether you are gifting them or keeping them for yourself, Christmas cookies are the best!  Here is how to make them into an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray.  Keep scrolling to see just how simple it is.

How to Make an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray tips featured by top US cookie blog, Practically Homemade

It is so hard to believe that we are just over a month to Christmas and less than a week until Thanksgiving.  I don’t know about you but I am deep in the trenches of deciding what to put onto my holiday menu.

I always like to start with dessert when I am planning {and eating, if I am being completely honest} and adding something fun, yet unexpected is always something I love to do.

Make it a tray of my favorite food…COOKIES…and I know I have a winner.  Now I just have to decide which cookies to make.

Here are all of my tips for the perfect Holiday Cookie Tray.

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How to Make an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray tips featured by top US cookie blog, Practically Homemade

Selecting your Cookie Tray:

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are choosing the board/tray for your cookies.  

  • Size of the cookie board:  The size of your board/tray will depend a lot on how many people you are planning to serve with your cookie board.  Also think about how many different cookies you want to serve and how big they are.
  • Shape of the board:  This is really a matter of what is appealing to you.  I think that when displayed nicely, cookies can look great on almost anything.  My best advice would be to choose something that is a solid color.  You don’t want your cookies to compete with a bold pattern.

I chose a large white platter because it had a rim around it and I didn’t have to worry about cookies spilling over the edge.

I also love food on white because then it really gets to stand out but a nice wood or silver tray would be beautiful too.

How to Make an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray tips featured by top US cookie blog, Practically Homemade

Adding Frosting to your Holiday Cookie Tray

Every good cookie tray needs some frosting!  I didn’t have time to make any, so I turned to the baking aisle of the super market.  To dress it up, I topped the vanilla frosting with ginger bread sprinkles.  

Isn’t it just calling you to dip a cookie into it??  I added the frosting to the board first because it was in a bowl, such a delicious place to start!

How to Make an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray tips featured by top US cookie blog, Practically Homemade

Selecting Cookies for your Holiday Cookie Tray

Selecting cookies is the most fun part of making a cookie tray.  Here are my tips for making the process easy.

  • Variety:  Chose cookies with a variety of sizes and shapes.  This not only adds a ton of interest to your tray but it also makes it really easy to fill in spaces.  You want your holiday cookie tray to look super full.
  • Homemade vs. Store Bought: There isn’t enough time in the day to do all of this work by yourself, so turn to the grocery store {or even Amazon} for help.  Adding some interesting store bought cookies is a fun way to get the variety you are looking for without you having to bake for days.

How to Make an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray tips featured by top US cookie blog, Practically Homemade

Bake your Cookies Ahead of Time

If you know ahead of time that you plan to make a Cookie Tray then baking ahead of time is a great idea.  Here are a few ways to do it.

  • Refrigerate the Cookie Dough:  Some of my cookie recipes actually suggest that you refrigerate the dough for 2 hours-3 days.  So make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.  
  • Freeze Cookie Dough:  Many of you many not know this but cookie dough freezes great!  I love to scoop it out like I would if I were baking it, freeze it until the dough scoops are frozen and then store the mounds in Ziploc bags until ready to bake.  You can thaw them out in the refrigerator or even bake them frozen, just add a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.
  • Bake and Freeze:  Most cookies freeze well baked for up to 3 months.  So you can bake them, freeze them and pull them out about an hour before you are ready for them.  This doesn’t work well for cookies with icing but you could always bake them without it and ice them once they are thawed.

How to Make an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray tips featured by top US cookie blog, Practically Homemade

How Many Cookies do I need per Person in my Holiday Cookie Tray?

There are quite a few things that can affect this amount but in general I would plan on 4-5 cookies per person.  Of course, this will depend on your guests {kids usually eat more than adults}, what time of day you are serving them {3 p.m. hunger is real} and what else is being served.

If you are serving a lot of other desserts in addition to the cookie tray, then I wouldn’t plan quite so many.  If you are planning a full dinner then guests will most likely not be as hungry for dessert.

There are a lot of what ifs and ultimately you know your guests better than anybody but I always say to over serve and send the leftovers home as a nice gift.

How to Make an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray tips featured by top US cookie blog, Practically Homemade

How to Arrange your Holiday Cookie Tray:

  • Start with your bowls:  I started with my frosting but you could also use bowls as containers for cookies.  Especially if they are delicate.
  • Add the larger cookies:  By adding the larger cookies first you make sure that you have room for them.
  • Add the smaller cookies:  Use the smaller cookies around the larger ones.
  • Fill in any holes:  Use the smallest cookies you have to fill in any holes or gaps.  You could also use candies {like Hershey’s Kisses} for a sweet surprise.

How to Make an Easy Holiday Cookie Tray tips featured by top US cookie blog, Practically Homemade

Add a Holiday Cookie Tray to your holiday dessert menu and I can guarantee that you will have some happy guests.  It would also be a wonderful dessert to take to a potluck or even a party.  Maybe even a gift for a special friend or relative.  

Let’s make Cookie Trays the next big thing!  Cookies make everyone happy and the world could always use a little more happiness!

Want some Cookie Recipe Ideas?  Try these…

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