My father is a man of simple pleasures. He loves watching the Yankees win, pouts when the Giants lose, and aims to always beat his lowest score on Sundays at the golf course. When it comes to food he enjoys unassuming tastes; hot dogs and hamburgers, a good steak, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The one food I could call him a connoisseur of is the cookie. He loves cookies. He even has a nightly ritual of eating one or two with a small Tupperware cup of milk either hanging around the kitchen or watching the end of “the game” on the couch.
This past Christmas I wanted to come up with a creative gift for him. It always feels like I’m giving him a Yankees t-shirt or a new box of golf balls (which are surprisingly expensive, by the way!). I searched. I thought. Finally, an idea dawned on me: The Cookie of the Month Club. A homemade batch of cookies delivered directly to my parent’s doorstep with a new flavor every month. An idea that would support his love of cookies and my love of the post office and baking!
Throughout middle and high school I did a lot of baking, almost always with a set purpose: a youth ministry picnic, Key Club bake sale or to be sneaked into a crush’s locker for Valentine’s Day. Eventually I started getting complaints from my dad and my brother that there were never any cookies left for them. Now with me in living in Manhattan, baking more than ever, and my parents a few hours north of the city the situation hasn’t changed much. There’s plenty being made, and little getting to my dad. The Cookie of the Month Club allows me to share what I bake with my dad all year long. I love the excited text message or phone call that comes once my dad receives the monthly shipment and the feedback he gives on flavor and texture.
In order to make a “gift” out of the idea I wrote out note cards and envelopes for the year and wrapped it up for Christmas morning. Using colored markers I decorated the envelopes for each month, the card inside revealed what kind of cookie would be showing up that month. Magic bars in May, graham crackers in July, flu-fighter cookies in October. August is a special month – Dad’s choice - since his birthday comes at the end of it. I chose cookies I knew would ship well or if I knew I would be going to visit him that could handle a short train ride. This worked out well for March’s cookie – the oatmeal cream pie! Since the cookies have cream cheese frosting I wanted to keep them cool so I assigned them to March when I knew I would be home for our family’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. We are six months in to the club now and there have thankfully been no hiccups yet! As I’m finishing up writing this I have June’s cookie – Oatmeal Raisins – cooling on the counter top.
The Cookie of the Month Club is something anyone can start on one’s own, any time year. It makes a fabulous last minute gift, but keep in mind the key to it is remembering to bake and send the cookies! To start your own Club you will need a few solid cookie recipes, some boxes or Tupperware for packing, and a big dollop of love. For the most part I’ve been using my favorite go-to cookie recipes but in some cases I’ve tried out new ones. February was snickerdoodles (a true love of my father’s) and the recipe I used made for really spread out, crisp cookies. Good as they were, but not a classic snickerdoodle. The oatmeal raisins I just finished came from a new-to-me recipe from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and I learned oatmeal raisin cookies are sometimes called “Cape Cod Cookies” – I had no idea!
For packing up the cookies I’ve gotten… creative. I’m definitely one of those people who has a hard time “buying” packing materials that you can usually get for free in some form or another. So far I have used my old modem box, the box my Jeni’s 4-pack of pints came in, and my Roku box (this one was perfect for the little square magic bars). Then I’ve been shipping flat rate or priority mail through the USPS – only takes about 48 hours for the cookies to arrive! The boxes get stuffed with any bubble wrap, tissue paper, or shredded packing paper I can get my hands on. So far so good!
Don’t be afraid to make up your own rules, too! There might be a little trial and error, but sometimes the errors make for the best stories (if you’re one of my family members reading this a certain cake incident may come to mind…). Maybe you want to shorten the year to a semester for your favorite college student, or maybe an every other month subscription to send a friend who is living alone in a new city and would appreciate something sweet and homemade, but just a taste. And, if you’re reading this now and remembering today is Father’s Day and you forgot about your Papa…shoot him an email with a list of cookies! Even if it is a one-time surprise or a year-long delight all versions will be loved and appreciated! For me, its been such a fun way to show my dad love and keep up with my baking. And even after Christmas rolls around again and the year is over, I can see definitely see a sporadic cookie delivery once in a while!
There are six months left in our Cookie of the Month Club - you can see what I’m cooking up if you follow #cookieofthemonthclub on Twitter or check my Facebook page around the middle of the month.
Have you ever mailed baked goods or other treats as a gift?
Have you ever done a “subscription” like this?
Share your stories in the comments!