Christmas baking is the next thing on my seasonal to do list. Somehow, this task keeps getting delayed.. And that doesn't seem right, because the cooking and baking part of the holidays are what I really do enjoy.
Mind you, even when I have more time I don't get carried away in this department. Nothing too fancy here from this kitchen. I never have felt the need to drop and dip and sprinkle and frost and roll out and cut out and crimp and press. Neither my self-esteem nor the warmth of our family Christmas has never been linked to making the creamiest fudge or the lightest peanut brittle or the tastiest spritz. I believe my family understands that by now.
In an effort to do Christmas right, I did attempt making rolled, cut-out Christmas sugar cookies years ago when our children were little but big enough to help with the cutting out and the decorating. It seemed like such a nice, warm, bonding, family holiday tradition to start at this tender young age. Besides, somehow when we combined two households I had acquired a whole batch of cookie cutters, so I figured we really should try them out.
Since I'm a cookie baker all year round, mixing up the dough was simple. I chilled it thoroughly before I even attempted to roll it out with a rolling pin (a new acquisition as well.) Trying out the cookie cutters for the first cookie sheet full of the traditional reindeers, Christmas trees, Santas, wreaths, and stars went great with my young helpers and some direction from their mom.
Soon, though, we were in trouble. The dough didn't work well. The cutouts stuck and broke even before we got them to the cookie sheet, and the ones that did bake too often came out hard because we worked with the dough so much and rolled it unevenly. By this time, the attention span of my helpers for the job was nearly shot as Mom grew frustrated and impatient with the whole situation. As I recall, the kitchen was also getting messier and messier by this time, the task was becoming less fun by the minute, and it didn't look like there would be anything edible for our time and trouble.
So much for bonding over perfect cut-out Christmas cookies. It's pretty hard to make nice memories when your mom is snarling at the whole situation. Before I knew it, my helpers had left the kitchen and gone to play out of the line of fire. I can't say I blamed them.
Ever since, we've managed to celebrate Christmas just fine without sugar cookies that come out of our own oven. We're sticking to your basic, and very good, cookies with a chocolate star on the top.