It was just an ordinary day at the office when I received a phone call that would affect my plans for the coming week. The YWCA called and asked I bake 3 to 4 dozen cookies and “please include a list of ingredients.“ I looked at my calendar, didn’t see any reason why not, and said of course. The woman said I was an angel. That lead me to believe she has had more than one refusal.
Now I am not a beginner in the kitchen and baking is one of my favorite hobbies. I just have never leaned toward the Christmas cookie tradition. Seems like a lot of work to me, and they mostly taste the same, just different shapes and colors. Don’t get me wrong. I truly admire the cook that makes these beautiful cookies.
The internal mind-game starts with should I cheat with a Betty Crocker mix or do as my mother would do. After all I am still working full time and evenings don’t always prove to be that productive. So I buy 2 mixes: sugar and M&M cookie mix. Two dozen cookies each in 20 minutes.
I get the kitchen ready for baking. The oak dining room table has the pads on it with cooling racks, etc. Very Paula Dean style.
I have always wondered about M&M cookies. I know M&Ms are not supposed to melt in your hand, but what about a 375-degree oven. Well, I wonder no more. They melt! So my baked M&M cookies did not even resemble the picture on the package.
I am not one to quit. So I try the sugar cookies. I have a choice of rolling out the dough and making the cute little Christmas shapes or I can choose drop cookies. In my several errands after work, I forgot to buy cookie cutters, so it looks like drop cookies win. Now, I did remember to buy red and green sprinkles and a glittery gel that I can use to decorate my sugar cookies. This is when the rubber hits the road.
The cookies look fine coming out of the oven – nothing special. So I sprinkle little round red & green balls on the warm cookies. They don’t seem to stick. Now they are rolling all around the cookie sheet, and of course on the floor. OK that kind of decoration isn’t working. I am thinking the YWCA is going to be receiving some very serious Christmas cookies and these are not looking so great.
I get out the tubes of colored gel. I begin to draw Christmas trees on the sugar cookies with the gel. Then to be very creative, I put tiny red dots on the green trees to resemble Christmas balls hanging on a Christmas tree. A mediocre effect to say the least.
My next thought is I have to pack these cookies in a tin for delivery. I let the gelled cookies set for an hour. To my dismay, the gel is the same consistency as when I took the extra time to place these little red dots on the green trees. Oh, well, we can eat these at home. I place them in a Ziploc plastic bag. The gel sticks to the inside top of the bag and they are just hanging there.
This is not fatal. I still need cookies tomorrow for the YWCA “with a list of ingredients, please”. I get my mother’s cookie recipes, the mixer, and get busy.
All went very smoothly from this point on. I became very, very organized. A necessary point when you have a small, efficient kitchen. I am going to bake Mom’s peanut butter cookies and her delicious fresh apple cookies. Neither of these are identified as Christmas cookies. I quickly ran to the grocery store for Reese’s peanut butter cups to insert in my peanut butter cookies.
I started putting ingredients in the bowl, chopping nuts and apples, sifting flour, measuring spices, and had a constant flow of cookies going in and coming out of the oven. On to the cooling racks in the dining room, and frosting on the warm cookies. I could hear crunching on the floor as I went back and forth between the two rooms.
The cookies turned out well, and as I took out the last batch, I looked at my kitchen - really looked at my kitchen. There was cookie dough on the toaster, microwave, and floor along with the rolling red and green balls. What a disaster area.
My day ended with a warm feeling that I had done the right thing. My house smelled of cinnamon and peanut butter. My dog who is usually at my feet cleared out a long time ago. She was nowhere in sight. I think she left when the rolling red and green balls hit the floor.
Bottom line, the YWCA has 4 dozen cookies with a list of ingredients, a dozen to the office and several for the family. I did the right thing and now I need to replace that bottle of wine.
If you like this installment of Linda’s Stories of Life, leave a message here or send her an email at lrehbein [at] baileyagency [dot] com.