This Christmas, I decided to make some gifts. My reasoning was twofold: people love food, and handmade gifts show that you cared enough to spend time making something for the other person. Bonus: food is a clutter-free gift. If they eat it, great. If not, it goes bad after a while and they have to toss it. Bonus #2: sometimes, handmade gifts are less expensive than store-bought ones. I have been the person at Walgreen's on the way to work trying to buy something for all her co-workers and had sticker shock when it was all over.
Thoughtfulness can be expensive and time consuming.
Previously, I had bought some holiday cookie containers and then didn't use them, so I was all set to give a couple of my faculty members some sugar cookies for Christmas.
I was actually debating about what type of cookies to bake. Typically, I like to bake easy cookies that you don't really have to roll out. I like doing chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter. My friend even ended up giving me an e-book called "100 Cookies for Santa Cookbook" but interestingly, I didn't use any of those recipes this year.
Sugar cookies can be beautiful and delicious, thus making them great gifts. I decided to use this recipe, because I was intrigued by the fact that, according to the author, rolling the dough before chilling it made things easier. It did. Kind of. Sort of. I didn't do great at rolling dough between parchment paper, but other than that, Anna June thought it was pretty successful.
Making things more special was the addition of a whole bunch of cookie cutters, mostly Christmas ones, from my Granddaddy Jerome. I went over to visit him the other day and returned with my whole inheritance of cookie cutters.
When we were little, my Grandma Annette had a Cookie Tree for us kids in the den. Partly, I believe this was so that we wouldn't mess with the beautiful, big artificial tree that had a musical, rotating base with the very breakable Bavarian glass ornaments that came with it in the 1960s. Some kids had Advent calendars - we had this. We'd bake the cookies, leaving holes in the top for ribbon, and then hang them on the miniature, artificial tree. It was just about one of the best things ever. I'm pretty sure we were even in the newspaper for it once.
I did give some of the cookie cutters to my mom, but in the end she decided that I still had enough sugar cookies (and other goodies) to contribute to the Christmas Eve Eve party that she didn't necessarily need to bake sugar cookies this year.
I already had cookie cutters - in fact, I have a lot of them, for nearly every occasion, but I always run out of time to bake with them. Since Granny also sent a gingerbread man cookie stamp, AJ was definitely ready to bake!
Plus, I had just bought these pretty handmade mother-daughter aprons and needed an excuse to wear them.
Here's the finished product.
If it had not been so late, we may have tried to make some frosting. But sprinkles worked great. Note for next time: don't leave in the oven so long, even if they don't look "done". Not everyone likes their cookies as crunchy as I do.
For the actual Christmas Eve Eve party, AJ volunteered us to make the M&M cookies, too. We'd done this before and she was looking forward to it. So we started out on the night of December 22 to bake the cookies. I cleared off the island, and gathered all the ingredients. Except I noticed we were out of vanilla.
It was too close to AJ's bedtime to venture out to the store or back to Mom's house, so I told AJ we would do it in the morning. She panicked, and declared, "There has never been a Christmas Eve Eve party without M&M cookies!" She was right, of course, but I calmed her down saying we would definitely bake them, just not that night. Before 6:00 AM on the 23rd, she was in my room, declaring we must hurry to the store to get the vanilla! I told her we had to wait until Publix opened at 7:00, so we snuggled for a few minutes, then got ready to go. By 7:15, she had reminded me it was time and we were out the door. After an uneventful mission, we made the cookies, and got to Mom and Dad's house to prep for the party by 10:00 AM. Christmas was saved.
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