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Need ideas for cookies for a crowd


I'm making cookies once a week for a group of about 100 people. I need ideas.

I've done choc chip bars, peanut butter and chocolate cookies so far.

My mixer has a 5.5qt bowl. I'm aiming at the maximum amount I can get out of it. The batch of dough I just did had about 7 cups of flour and 3/4 pound of butter. It certainly maxed out the capacity but I was able to finish the dough by working in the add ins by hand.

So what's different? Easy? Yummy? Do-able? And what tips does anyone have for getting 10-12 dozen single-serving size cookies out of a smallish ordinary household kitchen?

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  1. The oatmeal cookie recipe on the Quaker Oats carton is foolproof and delicious. You can press the dough out into a baking pan to make bar cookies if that simplifies the process.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tara57

      That's a big family favorite! ; >

    2. I'd sooner do smaller batches at a time than risk burning out my mixer motor. That way you can also do more than one variety of cookie per week. Besides, in a home kitchen you can't bake more than a couple dozen at a time anyway, so while one dough is baking you can be mixing up a different one.

      Oatmeal raisin cookies are a standby but I prefer golden raisins. Some people who don't like dark raisins don't object to golden (a.k.a. sultana). Also snickerdoodles.

      Lemon-coconut bars are easy. Sadly I have lost my recipe. It was done in a processor - first melted butter, flour, sugar, and coconut that you press into a pan and bake, meanwhile using the same bowl (uncleaned) to blend lemon juice, sugar, and egg. Poured over par-baked crust, continue baking.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        Thanks for the tip of multiple batches.

        So far I don't hear my motor overworking. The bigger prob is bits of flour at the bottom that don't get incorporated if I'm not diligent about scraping, scraping, scraping during the mix.

        Wish there were a paddle with a silicone sweep for the Cuisinart...

      2. I love this Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Walnut Cookie recipe. The last time I made it for a crowd, I divided the dough before I added the chocolate chips and nuts and made oatmeal-raisin cookies with that half. Worked perfectly.

        1 c. butter
        1 c. packed brown sugar
        1 c. white sugar
        2 tsp. vanilla
        2 tbsp. milk
        2 eggs, beaten
        2 c. flour
        1 tsp. baking powder
        1 tsp. baking soda
        1 tsp. salt
        2 1/2 c. oatmeal
        1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
        1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

        Cream together the butter and sugars. Add the vanilla, milk, and eggs. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the batter, mixing thoroughly. Blend in the oatmeal, chocolate chips, and nuts. Chill dough, then roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

        1. I would mix things up week to week by alternating chocolate/PB/"sweet" recipes with some fruity/"tangy" recipes. Lemon bars, key lime bars, even apple pie bars would give you some variety.

          Also, if I were you I'd definitely concentrate on bar cookies rather than drop cookies. It's MUCH faster and easier to make up 2-3 half sheet pans of bars than it is to drop 12 dozen cookies onto cookie sheets that only hold 16-20 cookies.

          5 Replies
          1. re: biondanonima

            That reminds me, if you are making cookies/muffins/cupcakes in quantity, and/or often, do invest in several sizes of spring-arm ice cream scoops, also called dishers. They ensure even portioning and almost totally eliminate drips, while making portioning very fast and easy.

            1. re: greygarious

              I hear ya! But so far, the scoops aren't holding up well. They work for something soft like PB cookie dough but the sweep arm skips on the heavy chocolate ones.

              The #24 is ideal for my project.

              1. re: rainey

                If you ever need to make and freeze the dough its perfect to freeze them as the scoop on a sheet tray and then transfer once solid and bake later.

                1. re: rainey

                  Hooray! I went to the local restaurant supply and got a Big Daddio professional scoop. This thing is built to last and the gearing that operates the sweep is a serious mass of metal.

                  I think the skipping gears that ends up in frustration is over even for the heavy doughs. YAY!!!!

              2. Another idea is to make shortbread base, then use it for a variety of bars; here's an idea:


                1 Reply
                1. re: susan1353

                  Thanks. I'll keep that In mind.

                  I was looking for my recipe for shortbread made with white rice flour that doesn't get tough. Not overworking such a large batch of dough is a real issue.

                2. Molasses/ginger
                  Blonde brownies
                  Rice Krispie bars
                  Spritz cookies using a newer cookie press are very easy / fast
                  Refrigerator Slice & bake - Earl Grey tea cookies or pfeffernuesse or pecan or date pinwheels
                  You may want to read through the Dec 2013 Cookies thread - some more elaborate ideas but also many fun & easy ones.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                    Thanks. If you have any high volume recipes I'd love them.

                    Right now I'm tripling and quadrupling recipes. When you throw in the possibility of a math error and the cost & frustration of having to toss a bad batch and produce a good one it gets a little intimidating.

                    1. re: rainey

                      This large-batch pfeffernuesse recipe makes a lot of quarter-sized mildly spiced cookies. Allow 3 per person

                      1. re: rainey

                        These pinwheels were time-consuming to make, but delicious. You'd need to double the recipe.

                        1. re: rainey

                          Here's the link for the Earl Grey Tea cookies, slice & bake - makes 6 dozen so double / make 2 batches.


                          1. re: rainey

                            These icebox coconut apricot cookies got happy reviews from all my family members last Christmas. I made them with hazelnuts/filberts but think they'd also be great with almonds. Makes 7 dozen, at least, depending on how large you make the "logs".

                          2. Are you looking to do all one type each week, or a variety of cookies? How many cookies are you planning on per person?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: roxlet

                              I do one recipe per week. That works out best for eliminating frustration. You see, I can barely manage one 4" cookie per person so tempting people to have more by having multiple options would not be helpful in this case.

                            2. Not a recipe suggestion, but if you're going to be doing this every week and would like to have variety - many cookie doughs freeze very well, so you can mix up large batches, freeze them in portions, and then pull out a couple kinds to bake once a week. I make double or triple recipes of basic chocolate chip cookie dough (w/o adding the chips) and then divide it up and add various mix-ins - classic chocolate chip, coconut and pecans, white chocolate and dried cranberries, pretzels and caramels, the possibilities are endless - and then freeze for later baking.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: cookie monster

                                That's a fabulous idea and, actually, when I bake cookies for the family I always freeze about 1/3 of the dough so I can do a cookie platter at the drop of a hat. But we're in a rented house with a very small freezer that's already full with our ordinary family food.

                                I heartily endorse your tip tho!

                                1. re: rainey

                                  Oops. Then ignore my input upthread!

                              2. I love these blueberry crumb bars http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/0... and you could sub in different fruit or sub in a good jam for the filling.
                                These biscoff oatmeal cookies are good and add something a little different to a favourite. http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/bis...
                                Hello dollies/magic bars/seven layer bars are a quick and easy treat.

                                1 Reply
                                1. I love Neiman's Marcus bars. A lot.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: tim irvine

                                    The N-M recipe is how I began doing this. ; >

                                    1. Dorie greenspan's cookie recipes are great, this cardamom snickerdoodle from her site was great:

                                      Her sables are simple yet more than the sum of its parts

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                        Thanks for those suggestions. Snickerdoodles are my son's faves.

                                        I also love her Salted Butter Breakups: http://doriegreenspan.com/2013/05/jam... They're the essence of simplicity but I don't think you can beat the flavor with a ton of sexy add ins.

                                      2. Using melted/browned butter would help w/ the mixer since you don't have the first step of mixing sugar/butter. Things like:



                                        My go-to recipe for a mass of cookies was monster cookies:


                                        An easy one to play around with, spreads:


                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Mmmmm! Browned butter! Gonna try some of those!

                                          As for creaming butter, I soften the butter overnight and it takes a load off the mixer's motor and works quite well even in large quantities.

                                        2. Are these cookies for children? A 4 inch cookie seems a little large, maybe just by making 3 inch cookies you could up the count. If the cookie eaters are helping themselves though, they might tend to take 2 three-inch and only 1 four-inch.
                                          Pumpkin cookies drizzled with simple white frosting are good. The website "Allrecipes" allows you too change the number of servings for the recipes-- for example, the recipe I link to is for 36 pumpkin cookies. But if you change the number in the little box to 100, the amounts for ingredients change also. For 100 pumpkin cookies it takes 7 cups flour. This feature would help avoid math mistakes too.
                                          For my peace of mind though I would not do more than double a recipe.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: BangorDin

                                            The cookies are for an adult crew.

                                            Thanks for the link to the utility. Can I use to to increase my own recipes?

                                            1. re: rainey

                                              If you use pepperplate you can input your own recipes (either manually by cutting and pasting and typing OR by importing them in with just a click or two from certain websites such as epicurious, food52, food network...) and then you can scale them up or down as you please.

                                              I am in awe of the incredible (delicious-sounding) advice you are getting. It makes me want to bake more!


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                I meant to mention that pepperplate is a free web-based recipe database software. There are a ton of posts about it here on CH. It's not perfect, but it's free and works with both Mac and PC, which fits my multi-operating system lifestyle...


                                            2. Does it HAVE to be cookies all the time? Brownies and muffins are good to make in bulk. When I cook for a crowd for church I usually do half brownies, and half cookies so I don't have to stand over the oven so long.
                                              Everyone loves it when I do snickerdoodles, or sugar cookies with candy pressed into the top.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                I'd love to brownies and I'm sure they'd be appreciated.

                                                If I did them in a half-sheet pan, is there a trick to ensuring that the centers are fully baked before the edges dry out too much?

                                              2. rice crispie treats, no mixer!

                                                1. Not sure if it's been mentioned already but Why not biscotti? Easy.

                                                  1. Sometimes a simple cookie is refreshing. and you can get a lot of cookies out of it

                                                    Lemon thins
                                                    Thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam

                                                    1. Two good recipes. If you use shortening you will get a crisper cookie, butter a softer but better tasting one.

                                                      Dad's Oatmeal


                                                      1 cup butter or shortening
                                                      2 cups brown sugar

                                                      beat in 2 eggs, 1 t vanilla

                                                      mix in

                                                      2 cups flour
                                                      1 t baking soca
                                                      2 1/2 cups quick oats
                                                      1/2 cup shredded coconut

                                                      Roll into a log, wrap with saran wrap and chill well. Cut into slices and bake for ~8 minutes at 180 C / 350 F.

                                                      Aunt Lee's Ginger Cookies


                                                      1 cup white sugar
                                                      3/4 cup shortening

                                                      Beat with
                                                      1 egg
                                                      1/4 cup molasses
                                                      1 teaspoon vanilla

                                                      Sift together and mix in

                                                      2 cups flour
                                                      1 tablespoon powdered ginger
                                                      1 teaspoons cinnamon
                                                      2 teaspoons baking soda
                                                      1/2 teaspoon salt

                                                      Chill, roll into a balls and coat the ball in granulated white sugar, squash with a fork, bake at 180 C/350 F.

                                                      1. I was at a party where someone brought Martha Stewart's Rocky Ledge bars. They were super delicious; I'd bring those!


                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                          Thanks, but the recipe says it makes 16 pieces. I need about 100-120.

                                                          I was sorta hoping for that kind of quantities along with practical tips for production baking in a home kitchen.

                                                              1. re: BangorDin

                                                                No, I hadn't but that's just the kind of thing I was looking for!

                                                                Thanks so much!

                                                          1. I suppose we are lucky. There is a commercial bakery not far from our home that sells frozen, uncooked cookies by the gross. ($5 for a case of 12 dozen.) They also sell frozen bread of various kinds quite cheap.

                                                            We only bought the cookies once for a large family gathering..

                                                            1. How about coconut macaroons? You can beat the egg whites a bit in your mixer, then pour them over the coconut in a giant SS bowl and finish blending by hand. Drizzle the baked macaroons with chocolate rather than dipping each one to make things easier.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                Probably a great idea but I'm so coconut adverse I wouldn't even handle it for other people.

                                                                Thank you still. It's really a wonderful and practical idea.