Got a question from “a needy baker in Albany.” (This is NOT how I would characterize her — this woman is a baking machine.) She’s got a classic holiday-party dilemma, though:

I am having 75 people for a cocktail party this Saturday night (12/12). We are having some of it catered but I want to make holiday cookies that are easy (fast) and elegant. I have already made mint brownies, chocolate chip bars, cranberry orange bread and lemon blueberry bread – allĀ are frozen in prep for Saturday. Any other suggestions?

See what I mean by “baking machine”? She’s got three key elements covered — chocolate, mint and orange — and there are great colors and shapes on that dessert table. I have two immediate recommendations from right here: Butterscotch Creoles and Almond Flats. Both fit the bill in a couple of ways: They add a new note to the table — nuts — and are elegant and fast (not tons of things to put together or ice). The added benefit of Butterscotch Creoles is the recipe makes a ton, eight to nine dozen cookies.

A couple of other ideas:

Ginger-ginger petticoat tails, from today’s Washington Post — who does NOT love shortbread, and this is the time of year to eat it.

Coconut macaroons, from Brown Eyed Baker’s blog — because they are elegant and easier than all get-out. I’d bag the chocolate-dipping for your table.

Good luck — tell what you made!

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