Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cookies

“C is for cookie, its good enough for me. Oh cookie, cookie, cookie starts with c.”
Cookie Monster
If the Christmas season has actually started then it must be that time of year when I start thinking about making cookies. Like those people who buy gifts during the year then sashay their way through the season unscathed by shopping frenzy, I would do good to start my baking early. Spreading it out across 12 months and filling up the freezer with blue stars, green sprinkled Christmas trees, and fat brown gingerbread men would be simpler than the last minute craziness that I seem to put myself through year after year. You'd think I would have come up with a better way of doing things by now.
There was a time in my life when baking was actually theraputic for me. Too depressed to even think about being merry, for some reason I discovered a certain degree of peace when in the kitchen up to my elbows in flour and sugar. Baking became a holiday tradition sort of by accident.
My kids are now grown. You'd think that they would be making holiday tradtions of their own. Yet year after year they ask for mom-made cookies. In years past, I'm embarrassed to say, I've promised cookies right up until the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve and still not gotten them made. I've been known to send Valentine hearts instead of snowmen and Santas.
Today was the actual start of the baking tradition... the buying. I bought pounds of butter, flour, and sugar. I bought a new jug of vanilla and fresh sprinkles. I brought it all home and laid it out on the counter. Every year I hope that if left there long enough my fairy godmother [I do have a fairy godmother, don't I?] might just come and wave her wand to make the cookies magically appear. It hasn't happened yet, but the hoping against hope has become part of the tradition for me.
The next step is making several batches of dough to be chilled. Again, I usually get this far in the process. I can put the dough in the freezer for weeks or in the fridge to chill for just a couple of days. My intentions are always good. Unfortunately, like other science experiments that have been discovered in the back of the refrigerator, I've found sugar cookie dough that could possibly be used to create a new antibiotic.
The problem, I have decided, is that there are just not enough days from Thanksgiving to Christmas to bake, wrap and mail the cookies. Okay, there are enough days I'm just not real good at managing my time.
I have to mail of John's birthday present tomorrow. I've baked two batches of chocolate chip cookies because he's let me know that his boss is waiting for them. I'm wondering if he's using cookies as leverage to get a Christmas bonus! Probably not, as poor Johnson is the one who has been let down most often by the lack of promised cookies.
I've only got six more days of NaBloPoMo. Perhaps, since I'm in some kind of routine, I could use the time to make one batch of cookies every day til Christmas. The only problem I see with that brilliant idea is that if the cookies are not mailed to my cookie-eating children and their friends, then Jack and I will be the ones left to eat them. This would not be good for either one of us.
I shudder to think how much it's going to cost to mail the cookies. In years past I made a deal with the postal workers. They promised special treatment of my packages for which I paid with a plate of cookies. I'm not so naive as to think that the cookies got A-1 care to their final destination, but at least I saw that the packages were gently placed at the top of the gift laden mail baskets, not tossed like a basketball.
We all know that a bag of Oreos or Pepperidge Farm gingerbread men would be cheaper and easier. But in this crazy mixed up world, a box of cookies, homemade with love by a mom who loves the tradition as much as the kids is just another way of spreading Christmas joy. And that's what it's all about, isn't it, this season of giving?
I don't know for sure because it's not been well documented but I have a sneaking suspicion that among those packages the magi laid at the foot of manger cradle there was a box of 7 layer cookies. Chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, butterscotch. Yum! Surely it's a mixture good enough to feed a king.
Happy baking,
Merry ME

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