Christmas Cookies

Long before Pinterest could puncture our creative bubble, there was the nativity Christmas cookie cutter set.

I sometimes call Pinterest the dream site: I can only do those projects in my dreams.

Story_squareThe cookie cutter set was like that. The box seduced me with photos of beautiful cookies in the shape of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus in a manger. A little piping of frosting, a few sparkles in the right place and we would have a unique nativity set.

And the best part was that we could do this project as a family with everyone helping.

I bought the set.

Yes, I knew we wouldn’t get the cookies quite as perfect as the photos. We had a two-year-old at the time. He’d produce a cute but goofy little cookie.

It was OK.

I forgot to factor in his mother.

I knew we were in trouble when I pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven. Baby Jesus in the manger resembled a toasted marshmallow.

The sheep – and I’d made lots of them – all were blimps. Some had short fat legs but, since you couldn’t tell where the head was, the legs could have been porcupine prickles, too.

The camels’ longer legs had grown together while baking. “Is this a tree?” asked the six-year-old.

The shepherds had morphed into tall planks of wood and kneeling Joseph was now a giant S.

The kids were game, anyway. They slathered on frosting that was too thin so that the blues and oranges dribbled into each other making a muddy brown on the kings.

Well, I thought those were the kings because of the lumps at the top which I identified as crowns. Maybe they were cows, in which case the muddy brown frosting might make more sense.

I had planned to assemble the stable printed on the back of the box but tossed that after our older son frosted an angel as though it were a donkey. I couldn’t see displaying these.

When we were done, with sticky frosting on our fingers and sparkles drifting to the floor, I studied the blobs of cookies. “Well, this didn’t work out quite like I had hoped.”

My husband surveyed the table, surrounded by sets of eager young eyes, and picked up a cookie. “Then we’d better destroy the evidence.”

Cookie Cutter Dreams

Long before Pinterest could puncture my wanna-be creative bubble, there was the nativity Christmas cookie cutter set.

I sometimes call Pinterest the dream site: I can only do those projects in my dreams.

The cookie cutter set was like that. The box seduced me with photos of beautiful cookies in the shape of Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus in a manger. A little piping of frosting, a few sparkles in the right place and we would have a unique nativity set.

And the best part was that we could do this project as a family with everyone helping.

I bought the set.

Yes, I knew we wouldn’t get the cookies quite as perfect as the photos. We had a two-year-old at the time. He’d produce a cute but goofy little cookie.

It was OK.

I forgot to factor in his mother.

I knew we were in trouble when I pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven. Baby Jesus in the manger more resembled a toasted marshmallow.

The sheep – and I’d made lots of them – all were blimps. Some had short fat legs but, since you couldn’t tell where the head was, the legs could have been porcupine prickles, too.

The camels’ longer legs had grown together while baking. “Is this an elm tree?” asked the six-year-old.

The shepherds had morphed into tall planks of wood and kneeling Joseph was now a giant S.

The kids were game, anyway. They slathered on frosting that was too thin so that the blues and oranges dribbled into each other making a muddy brown on the kings.

Well, I thought those were the kings because of the lumps at the top which I identified as crowns. Maybe they were cows, in which case the muddy brown might make more sense.

I had planned to assemble the stable printed on the back of the box but tossed that after our older son frosted a angel as though it were a donkey. I was not displaying these.

When we were done, with sticky frosting on our fingers and sparkles drifting to the floor, I studied the blobs of cookies. “Well, this didn’t work out quite like I had hoped.”

My husband surveyed the table, surrounded by sets of eager young eyes, and picked up a cookie. “Then we’d better destroy the evidence.”

All About the Making

I believe Christmas sugar cookies are all about the making. It’s that time when I drag out my cookie cutters, rinse them off, and produce a countertop full of camels and reindeer (same cutter) and candy canes so dry that they only served as coasters for the frosting.

And my younger son wanted to make sugar cookies. At age 5, he still liked to hang out in the kitchen so I seized this wonderful teaching opportunity before he got bored of hanging out with me.

“Here’s how we roll out our dough for the cookie cutters,” I explained. I formed a handful of dough into a nice round ball, then flattened it with the heel of my hand. “Then we can roll it out to a nice even thickness for the cookie cutters.”

Oh, yeah, he was in. That first batch featured trees and stars and a manger. Once those were baking, he announced he could do the next round.

Motherly pride is a dangerous thing and it got me that time. I was thrilled that he had watched and learned so quickly. I took a step back to watch.

Yep, he scooped out a hunk of dough and rolled it into a ball. Nice start.

He placed the ball on the counter top and then raised his hand in the air before punching that dough ball with the side of his fist.

We’re talking a round of middleweight boxing here. Bam! Bam! Bam!

Then he dusted off his hands and calmly reached for a cookie cutter.

“Um, aren’t you going to use the rolling pin?”

He gave me one of those “I got this, Mom, so go fold laundry” looks. “It’s already flat.”

Yes, it sure was.  Christmas cookies are all about the making, right?