I can't be the only baker in the world -- or the Twin Cities, anyway -- who enjoys giving the gift of colorful tins filled with holiday cookies, particularly when we have so many terrific recipes in our 10th-annual Taste Holiday Cookie Contest.
But I was starting to feel that way when I went out in search of them and came up short. I ran through Target, Tuesday Morning, Crate & Barrel and Macy's -- heck, even the Container Store -- and walked out empty handed.
Then my editor gave me a tip: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft. True confessions: I've never set foot inside a Jo-Ann store; up until a few days ago I was only vaguely aware of the company's existence. But the chain is now on my radar, thanks to its impressive cookie tin inventory (pictured, above). More than a dozen festive patterns are stocked in several sizes, with prices ranging from $5.99 to $7.99. When it comes to cookie tins, Jo-Ann is the mother lode.
Not being much of a scrapbooker, I'm not terribly familiar with Michaels, either. But the crafters' paradise is another reliable source for cookie tins. I counted nearly 10 different decorative options (pictured, above) in a range of shapes and sizes, sold at $1.99 to $6.49.
Cost Plus World Market has returned to the Twin Cities, and while the selection is slim -- I found just one rectangular container (pictured, above), which was priced at $4.99 -- the store also had a decent array of holiday-themed cardboard cookie boxes (6 or 10 for $4.99). To my eye, they're the cookie equivalent of using a gift bag rather than a gift-wrapped box, but that's just the traditionalist in me. Still, they're better than having to resort to a coffee can. Wait, is coffee still sold in cans?
Strangely, cooking stores, their shelves heaving with bakeware, come up short. Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table and Cooks of Crocus Hill don't keep them in stock, although I did encounter two at Kitchen Window (pictured, above): a small, candy-appropriate container for $3.99, and a cookie-scaled tin for $4.50. Better than nothing, right?
I would probably brave the big-box gauntlet that is IKEA for a few of the Swedish giant's stackable, white-and-gold "Tripp" containers (pictured, above, in a provided photo). The price is right, too: a set of three is $9.99.
Two other possibilities that I didn't check: I've heard that various dollars stores (Family Dollar, Dollar Tree) occasionally keep cookie tins on hand. For vintage versions, check out a thrift store near you, or click into eBay.
Oh, and because there seems to be a website for everything, there's always cookietins.com.
Where do you find them?