One of the things that I have not enjoyed cooking over the years are cookies. I have always seen it as an unfulfilling task, because it doesn’t yield a good time expenditure vs lasting pleasure ratio.
I’m all about the math.
That’s to say-cookies are hard work.
Stiff batter, lots of pans to wash and having to pay close attention to the timer. I do love seeing them drying on the racks and how the kitchen smells. I feel so domestic because this is one of the few times that I wear an apron in the kitchen.
All that work and then the boys come busting through the door. True delight spread on their faces as they put a cookie in each hand passing through the kitchen. At which point I would quickly gather the remaining cookies up into containers and hide them so they would last 24 hours. Which is about how long 2 batches of cookies normally made it at our house when all the boys lived here.
My mom would always make cookies when she came to visit and the boys loved it. Especially son #2, who we found out was taking his 3 cookies that were sent in his school lunch and was wheeling and dealing: 1/2 cookie for a whole dessert. So my boy was getting 6 desserts every lunch off of 3 of his Nana’s cookies.
Not one of our proudest moments.
So cookie making is not a favorite memory in our house. Except for Christmas cookies. That is one task I always looked forward to. We (and by we, I mean “me”) make basic sugar cookies, then the boys would help cut out in different shapes with all kinds of sprinkles. I would turn on Christmas music and the magic would begin.
And last for about an hour.
Until the spell was broken and the boys moved on to another activity then I had the pleasure of finishing up and cleaning up to myself. Alone time. In the midst of holiday season, ah, yes, sweet memories, indeed.
Their leaving also gave me a chance to stash the goods. I usually make 4-5 batches of dough on one day, then chill over night and pull them out as needed so the dough wouldn’t be too soft. I had the table set up with a cutting station, a decorating station and a cooling station. We would only eat the imperfect ones at first…those broken or misshapen.
I used to make all kinds of goodies for the holidays, but as we have all gotten older and more concerned with health, I have it narrowed down to the sugar cookies and Hello Dollies (also known as 7 layer bars.) My boys see those come out and they know the holidays are here.
I still hide the cookies in batches from the boys as they stop by and start snooping. I get a lot of joy out of seeing how much my hub loves them with his evening coffee, and if I didn’t ration cookies, he would never get a one!
All of the work for the cookies is really worth it, especially when I heard one of my boys say a couple of years ago that the Christmas cookie making is one of his strongest holiday memories. Me, in the kitchen, huge mess and Christmas music playing, he knows he’s home.
And that makes a Merry Christmas for me.
Here’s our Christmas cookie recipe:
Old Fashioned Christmas Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Cream butter. Add sugar and eggs, beating well. Stir in milk and vanilla.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Chill.
Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with assorted cutters. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Decorate as desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Yields about 4 dozen..depending on the size of cutters.