Christmas Cookies 2012 – Day 1

Start time: 10:30 am

End time: 4:15 am

Goal: 20 recipes baked, decorated & packed by Sunday night

Here’s the update today:

Completed: Vanilla Sugar (quadruple – flooded!),  Chocolate sugar (double – flooded!), Pecan Sandies (quadruple), Chocolate Chip (quadruple), Lemon Sugar Rounds (quadruple), Cherry Cheesecake cookies (double)

Mixed but not baked: Candy Cane cookies (double), Extreme Brownie cookies (quadruple), Chocolate Coffee Kringles (double)

18.5 hours of AWESOME.  My hands, back & feet are a bit sore, and I’ll be the first to admit I pushed it, but as you can see, I am almost HALF DONE with the madness.  The biggest accomplishment was getting those sugar cookies not only baked, but iced and ready for detail & embellishments on day 1.  I have never done that before.  It’s something that I wanted to do for years.  One of my secret, dreams is to complete cookie madness a day (or half day) early, and I think that getting the sugar cookies flooded on day 1 is the key to accomplishing that.

Things of note:

  1. The owl cutters arrived!
  2. My beautiful, $115 sealer arrived (Husband is growing very fond of it, BTW)
  3. I totally want a dishwasher…

Somehow, in my coffee-fueled butter & sugar frenzy, I managed to keep my kitchen pretty spotless.  I lost count of how many sinkfuls of dishes I did, or how many dishtowels I went through.  There is something about  the smell of toasted pecans that makes it all worth it though.  I think that’s how my mind knows it’s Christmas.  A bit of cinnamon, some toasted pecans and the taste of a perfectly browned top of a chocolate chip cookie, still warm and gooey from the oven.  THAT’S Christmas to me.

Sorry to was poetic for a moment, but all my life, cooking and baking have held important meaning.  It’s meant family.  My mother was (and still is) an amazing, inspiring and creative cook and baker, so I think that this is all part of my DNA.  She taught me my basics, the core of substituting ingredients and the love of from-scratch baking.  No matter how far apart we are, she is always at my elbow through these intricate foodie projects, and it’s because of her that I love creating these pieces of art each year.

Needless to say, Christmas cookie baking is and has been a big part of my life since childhood.  I’ve done a Christmas cookie project since high school (1994) and I realize I have done the boxed insanity on my own since 1997.  In my first San Francisco apartment on 20th ave, I did an assortment of about 6 cookies for my college professors and a few choice friends.  Nothing as complicated as the bakery boxes and sealed bags as I do now, but there was some chocolate dipping involved.  If my math is right (sorry, no Asian math gene), that’s 15 years of cookie insanity.  And my husband married me anyway.

Speaking of the Asian math gene, can I tell you how ironic it is that I can’t calculate  fractions in real life, only when I bake?  I’m uber-tarded most of the time, but give me a recipe to double, triple or quadruple, and I’m a solid B in math all of a sudden.  Go figure.

Ok, so I told you about how great day 1 was, but let me share some of the mis-steps.  I didn’t plan on making a quadruple recipe of vanilla sugar cookies or a double of the chocolate ones.  I started rolling & cutting and I realized that I was coming up short.  So I had to re-mix.  New cookie scoop = too big… I did about a dozen chocolate chip cookies with a fill scoop, and while OK for Husband consumption (literally, I think they are 1/4 cup cookies), not exactly a good idea for cookie boxes.  I’m going to run out to Sugar & Spice tomorrow to get a smaller scoop for my brownie cookies.  Also, not sure if I’m doing it right (because I’ve never owned a cookie scoop before) but the dough doesn’t come out really easily,  I have to click the scoop about 8 times to release it.  Husband suggested that I resort to banging the metal scoop on the metal bowl, which I did until about 11 pm.

If anyone can educate me on proper scoop application, please do.

So that’s day 1.  Time to crash for a solid 6-7 hours, then back at it tomorrow!  I’ll add in pictures to this blog when I am a bit more rested.  Stay tuned!



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