Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cookie Day=Sanity

Napoleon Creams, Russian Teacakes, Cherry Blossoms, Nutmeg Logs, Maple Nutty Bars, Cranberry Pistachio Bark, 3 Shortbreads, Lemon Iced, and the still illusive-perfect-spice-cookie, these are the bits of the holidays that surround me today.  I just finished my annual cookie day(s), baking the Christmas treats that will highlight our gatherings and care packages. (The picture here doesn't do them justice.  I clearly don't have a career in food photography.)

My husband and sons, brothers and sisters, various neighbors and kids' classmates are always anxious to see if their favorite sweet treat will make the cut and be included in the lineup for that year's cookie day. Many people have questioned my sanity, my patience, and my commitment to 8-9 different varieties.  What about just making the perfect shortbread and calling it a day?  The answer is that cookie day IS my sanity and helps restore my patience with the small difficulties in my life. You see, cookie day is a labor of love and it is a labor that I share with my best friend.

Cookie day has evolved into an overnight and now this year, two nights and two days of baking mania.  13 pounds of butter and 12 pounds of powdered sugar later and my friend and I divvy up the "fruits" of our labor and return to our normal mom, family, and work demands. We return to a schedule of short phone calls, squeezed in during train commutes or waiting spells in the parking lot during school pick ups. I always think that we will delve into some heartfelt, Hallmark movie type dialogue during our baking intensive.  Maybe it's the effect of inhaling so much butter or tasting so much dough but what we really do, is just hang out with a dash of goofy.  It's such a gift, my favorite holiday gift, to spend time with her and just relax.

So, for the person on your list who you can never find the "right" gift, I suggest a day of hang time.  It's amazing to me to be with my friend and not have to watch the clock.  It's a sad commentary on our over scheduled lives but I know I'm not alone.  The more we work so that we can afford stuff, the more we wish we could just be with each other and relax a little.  Let that be your gift.  And if the family or coworkers in your life get frustrated with you being unavailable for a day or two, do what I do.  Feed them cookies.


  1. What a wonderful gift, indeed. And those cookies look A-MAZING! Yum!

  2. Wow! That is some impressive cookie-making. How yummy! But, more importantly, what a real treat that you maintain that tradition with your friend. That is truly something special.

  3. Now, I just have to ship them off so that I don't eat them all :).

  4. eltee, i have a very similar looking collection of cookies! i don't know how you do it in one day!! and 13 lbs? i used about 6lbs of butter this year. i don't know if i can associate it with sanity anymore. my daughter has been gluten and dairy free for four years - so now i make two versions of most things!! people tell me i'm crazy, but hey, food is love, right? how great to have a friend to do it with. i bake with my mom and sister, but not so efficiently as you.

    p.s. - are the kiss cookies the cherry blossoms? do you use marichino cherry juice? i make an almond butter version for my daughter (she can't have the typical peanut butter with the kiss) but i bet she'd like the cherry even better.

  5. Ok, you misread, this was not a one day affair. I spent two nights at my friends house and did several family errands in between. The cherry blossoms are made with the marischino cherries and juice. We kept getting distracted and made so many mistakes. It started to resemble something out of the "I Love Lucy" show.