Goal: 21 types of cookies, packaged, wrapped & ready to deliver on Tuesday 12/17. And one Godzilla themed, gluten-free (among other things) birthday cake to deliver on 12/14.
Start Time: 11:30 am
Stop Time: 1:20 am
Completed: Pecan Sandies (4x), Coffee Sugar (4x), Snickerdoodles (5x), Vanilla Sugar (6x), Coconut cutouts (4x), Mint Chip (4x)
Flooded: Brown Sugar Spice (3x), Mint Chip (4x), Vanilla Sugar (6x), Coconut cutouts (4x)
Today was cake delivery day! For part of the day, I was out of the house, doing non-cookie related things. The cake went over really well and thankfully, no allergic reaction (yay!).
While I was out, MOTU and The Husband got a lot of baking done. They are my heroes today, hands down. It’s funny– when I got home, ready to sign in for my shift, The Husband said, “I didn’t get a lot done today.” And I chuckled because, this is the ongoing, never ending feeling of cookie time.
In reality they got a TON done. He’s been making the peanut butter cookies each year, since he found the recipe we use and he takes pride in the fact that his recipe is better than mine, to make it into the boxes each year. The chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin are both modified from their original state, my hand written changes on the cards, adding extra flour and baking powder here, more cinnamon and nutmeg there.
Yeah, I’m old school. I still have a recipe box and index cards. Some of them are yellowing on the edges or have stains on them from spilled vanilla or grease spots from melted chocolate being wiped off them. The Husband keeps telling me to go digital so I never lose my recipes. Yes, I think there is truth in that, however I don’t think I could go 100% digital. There is something about those hand-written cards, some of which were copied from Mom or Grandma’s own recipes as I grew to appreciate them over the years.
I’ve been having lots of thoughts this baking season. For the first time ever, I’m not thriving on the madness and mania that usually comes along with my cookie projects. I don’t know what it is, but all I want to do is get to bed on time and snuggle with my dogs. Could it be that cookie madness has run it’s course? Am I getting too old for this, for real?
I started late in the day today, so I had a lot of work to get done before I called it quits. I flooded cookies like crazy today. Potsie and her boyfriend stopped by tonight to see the show. Cookie time is something that is hard to explain to someone who has no idea. Telling someone “Jenn takes off a week to bake cookies for everyone” just doesn’t really explain the depth of the madness that is cookie time. Sometimes you just have to see the quantity and the piles to really get it.
MOTU had a concert to go to in the city so she took off shortly after I arrived home. She did half of the sugar work this year, making the gum paste decorations that are going on the vanilla sugar cookies. She would hate me for saying it, but MOTU has the hands of an artist, so this is something she’s really good at. Doing 100 of anything is a big project, especially smashing gum paste into molds to make tiny little thistles or plaques to stick onto cookies. It’s a labor of love. Or a labor of something.
My final task this evening was to do the marble flooding on the vanilla sugar cookies. It’s more of a dip than an actual flood. I learned how to do this last year by watching YouTube, and it’s become my favorite way to make things look a lot fancier than they are, quickly and easily. I am deliriously tired tonight, but I feel accomplished despite being away from the kitchen for most of the day.
The thought that I might be winding down on doing this kind of effort and quantity is really at the forefront for me. I haven’t actually said it out loud yet, but it’s there constantly in my head. For the first time this isn’t feeling as fun to be over-the-top in cookies. Some of this is feeling like work this year, and I’ve had thoughts of wishing I were doing other things instead.
As much as I love doing my annual cookie project, perhaps it’s time to dial it back finally, and cut down on the quantity of boxes I give out. I haven’t upped my numbers since last year, however the count isn’t going down either. I can’t shake this feeling that this could be the last full-blown cookie madness I ever do.
That is the truth of it though. This year, my pace is slower and the “jet fuel” I usually run on just isn’t there. I cut out another 3 cookie types today, simply because I wanted to be closer to the end by now. That’s 6 cookie recipes less than usual, and I’m not even a little upset about it.
I do think it has a lot to do with my state of mind and being these days. I’m putting in the work to achieve balance in my mental, emotional and physical being. And like I noted earlier, this project, while fun is the antithesis of self-care. It’s a huge revelation and I can’t wait to bounce this off of McIrish and The Husband tomorrow.
All in all, I am very proud and happy about my progress so far. I’ve done myself a favor and cut back to keep myself sane and I’ve taken breaks a lot more. It feels better this year in so many ways.
As I type all these feelings out, Moose is asleep at my feet, reminding me that I am missed greatly when I’m preoccupied with cookie time. She has been really good company this year, in the wee hours of the night when everyone else has gone off to bed and I’m still here, flooding, decorating or cleaning up the kitchen to reset for the morning.
It’s these moments that make me so happy and fulfilled. The quiet peace of a sleepy house in the early hours of the morning. That heavy, achy feeling in my body that signifies a hard day’s work of kitchen labor. A warm, sleepy dog at my feet, breathing heavily enough to make me sleepy too. It still feels magical to me and conjures up all kinds of memories of years past.
I re-read a couple of older posts I did in prior years and I’m so very glad to documented all these projects. While these posts are public and I don’t mind sharing them with anyone who feels like reading them, I really did these for me, to remember how I felt in the moment, when I was doing something extraordinary for others and for myself.
Anyway, I’m too tired to wax poetic about the past years of cookies at the moment. I’m so glad the flooding is done. I need those cookies to be dry tomorrow so I can add the detail and let them dry before they get bagged and sealed. I have this feeling I’m going to totally blow my original deadline and wind up delivering late, but I’m not too concerned. Again, another flag that my thoughts have shifted this year.
Tomorrow will be fun. I love the detail work of decorating, and I’ve got 4 kinds to do. I haven’t yet decided on what the brown sugar spice cookie decoration will be just yet. I haven’t yet picked the word that will appear on the face. It’s got to be symbolic of the year, of the theme and of who I am in this moment in time. A couple are rattling around my head, but we’ll see tomorrow.
For now, I need to wake up this little dog and take her upstairs to sleep. I hope I get some snuggles…