I need an elf. Like a real, live, breathing, HELPING elf (Sorry Duncan! I still love you, but you are stuck in a Mason jar right now and obvi cannot help.). I need one that can follow simple instructions, like cleaning cookie sheets or rolling dough into balls and coating the with granulated sugar. Yesterday was Christmas Cookie Baking Saturday.
And I was exhausted. I still sort of am. Yesterday yielded 225 cookies. The ones I chose to bake this year were White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal, Ultimate Ginger, and Eggnog Cookies. I really wanted to go with a theme – a classic Christmas flavor theme. I love a theme!
My day started with getting the boys up (Just kidding. They woke me up with their “I’m-ready-to-get-up signaling noises”.) After breakfast, it was all about the cookies! I went through several pounds of butter. Isn’t it therapeutic to watch butter sticks melt? Oh. Just me?
I love the smell of melting butter, too. It’s heavenly.
My right-hand-helpers (no thanks to Duncan), my Kitchen Aid stand and hand-held mixers, were very busy, whirring and stirring for hours.
I made the batter for the White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies first, as it had to sit in the fridge for two hours.
When I finally did bake them, they came out perfectly – browned on the edges and bottoms (due to the one pound of butter in the doubled recipe), cranberries glistening, oatmeal giving off the perfect amount of chewiness, and the white chocolate offering up little pockets of creamy sweetness.
The Eggnog Cookies were next. These were an easy-peasy recipe to use. I love how they turned out. They are very simple, letting the true flavor of eggnog shine through.
Sprinkled with extra nutmeg, these little sweeties are sure to conjure up lovely holiday memories! My kids and I have gone through at least 2 gallons of eggnog this season so far. It’s so delicious. Bigs calls it “Santa Milk” since some of the jugs of it have Santa on them. I love how kids see things so differently from us old, haggard, jaded adults.
Next and lastly were my Ultimate Ginger Cookies. I love love ginger cookies. I think you know that, by now.
This is the second year in a row I’ve done a variation on a ginger cookie. These came out delicious! I love Ina Garten’s addition of crystallized ginger.
I love how rolling the dough balls in granulated sugar before baking returns a crunchy, but chewy and soft, cookie that looks like it’s been sprinkled with icy snow.
All of them, together, in harmony, on a plate. The beautiful flavors that epitomize the season – eggnog, ginger, cranberry.
These sure would have been a lot easier to make if that elf would have helped! And, sadly (but not really sadly, for this is the purpose!), for as much time as I put into them, these cookies got packaged up (neighbors, teacher, friends, church family, mom group) and doled out quicker than I could say “YULE LOG!!!”. All I’ve got left is crumbs. That’s okay. That’s what it’s all about. I’m sure we’ll receive lots and lots of cookies from other people…right?! Are you cookie-making friends listening?! 😉 I jest (sort of).
Speaking of that elf, he’s been in several different spots since we last spoke.
He’s made a mess of toothpaste. Thanks for THAT, Dunc.
He’s crammed himself into a mason-esque jar. It wouldn’t so creepy except that I had an almost-too-small jar and I had to sort of almost damage Duncan’s neck to get him in there. Oops.
And he made coffee filter snowflakes! What a clever elf he is!
Well, we’ve been very busy in our house, not only baking cookies (me) and wrapping gifts (me), but indulging in the traditions of the holiday (all). Bigs watched “The Polar Express” last year, but didn’t care so much (or understand). At three and a half, he now gets it and LOVES it! I pulled out some old Christmas books I had as a kid (and saved…they are in muy delicado condition, I’d say!) and we’ve been reading those, too.
If you haven’t seen or read The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg, you MUST. It was one of my favorite books as a child. It is adorable.
And Bigs now tells me that all he wants for Christmas is a new water bottle. Not a bouncy carrot. Great. Well, I’m sure he’ll forget he reneged on that and enjoy the dog toy shaped like a carrot that Santa is bringing him.
So, off to church – the second Sunday of Beautiful Advent. Have a very sweet, blessed Sunday.