The Christmas (Cookie) Story

Hello!

Happy Thursday!

So, yesterday, Thing 2 and I decorated Christmas cookies together.

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This isn’t a tradition for us – she mentioned that she wanted to and I said “sure, why not?!” – and now I remember why I never made it a tradition. It’s not fun.

I mean, it used to be fun. TONS of fun, even. We would decorate cookies whenever we went to my grandparents’ house for Christmas. My mom and grandma would have everything all set out for us – already baked cookies in awesome stocking, Santa face, snowman & Christmas tree shapes (there may have actually been more), frosting, food colorings, egg white wash, sprinkles, and the whole shebang – and my sister and I would happily decorate away, eating as we went, all the while listening to Christmas music.

GOOD. TIMES.

I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t start that tradition with my kids. Maybe it’s because we were in Hawaii when Thing 1 was 2 and then, Thing 2 was born there, and it’s Hawaii. Kinda difficult to get into the Christmas cookie baking spirit when it’s nearly 80 degrees outside. So, we just didn’t.

Then, we came back to the contiguous 48 when Thing 2 was 5 and we lived about an hour from my family. My sister managed to wrestle the original cookie cutters and cookie dough recipe away from my grandmother and she says to me – come and make cookies with us! Sure! It’ll be fun – just like when we were kids!

Except, it wasn’t. We had to bake those cookies. And, I’m not talking about a couple dozen. I swear we made a dozen dozen. Maybe more! Death by Christmas cookie baking. I definitely do not have the patience for all that.

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And then, I had to get Things 1 and 2 interested in sitting at her table for a few MORE hours decorating cookies with their young cousin. Um, yeah, by that point, even I was done so I didn’t blame them for getting bored in a hurry. It was great to spend that time with my sister but I honestly never wanted to do that again. Ever. EVER.

Much more fun for me to EAT the cookies and remember being a kid sitting at the kitchen table in grandma’s house. ☺ So, we never did those kind of cookies again. Until yesterday.

Why did I think it would be any different?

I made less cookies – 2 dozen to be exact. No, they weren’t my grandmother’s recipe but they’re still delicious! I made frosting. I bought sprinkles. Except, I forgot how to decorate cookies so I only bought red sprinkles and green sprinkles. Ooh, I’m the most exciting mom ever! (yes, that IS sarcasm you hear.) I played Christmas music. And we were miserable.

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Okay. So, miserable is perhaps a STRONG word. We weren’t overjoyed. And we were bored. And I’ll eat all those cookies until they’re gone so I don’t have to think about it anymore.

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At least they are light!

And, they’re perfect “guilt-free” gifts to give to the important people in your life that often go overlooked – the mailman, your dry cleaner, your neighbor who mows your lawn for you, the person who watches your pets when you travel, etc. 🙂

Christmas sugar cookies with Icing
Makes as many as you cut out

For the cookies:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
½ teaspoon peppermint extract (or use vanilla, if you’re not a peppermint fan. Or, use whatever flavor makes you happy!)

1. Whisk together first four ingredients in a medium bowl.

2. Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and, using electric mixer, beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in egg, followed by milk and extract. Add flour mixture and blend until just mixed. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in wax paper, and chill at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put oven rack in middle position. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to a ¼” thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut dough into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet, spacing them 2” apart, and bake 10 minutes or until pale brown around edges. Cool completely on rack.

4. Prepare icing while cookies cool.

For the icing:
1/3 cup pasteurized egg whites (really, so much easier to buy the egg whites)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Using electric mixer at low speed, blend egg whites, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar in medium bowl until frothy. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until icing thickens and stiffens, about 4 to 6 minutes. Tint with food coloring if desired. Spread or pipe icing onto cooled cookies.
Recipe adapted from Prevention.com

Cookie nutrition (based on 2 dozen)
Calories 92; Fat 4g; Carbs 12.1g (sugar 6.4g); Protein 1.6g

(Obviously, your carbs/sugars will increase with frosting but, hey, tis the season and I’m sure you need that extra burst of energy for your last minute Christmas shopping! I know I do.) ☺

Questions: Have you ever participated in a cookie swap/exchange? What’s the best cookie you ever received?

Would you believe I’ve NEVER been to one of those?! I’m so out of the loop!

– jennifer

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