Do you like cookies? Everyone likes cookies! Three or…maybe four years ago, now, I was contemplating this fact, in tandem with the thought that, once again, I didn’t have the cash reserve to buy all of my friend groups decent, personalized presents. At least, not ones that weren’t socks from Target. Again. I didn’t want to be the target sock girl of my friend group.
So I struck on cookies. But to make cookies not just a good gift, but a great one, they’d have to be better than just store-bought variety, packaged nicely. And I didn’t want to just make a couple of batches of chocolate chip cookies and call it a day, either.
My solution? Five different cookie varieties, all of a kind that, for me personally, called back to my dad in the kitchen on Christmas day, delivering sweet treats to my greed seven-year-old maw.
The first year, I delivered over a dozen cookies to around a dozen friends and their families. Total count: 350 cookies, over three solid days of mixing, chilling, baking, and, yes, decorating gingerbread cookies.
No, I know, it’s crazy, but for me, it’s zen. Moreso as I got further into college: after a difficult and dreary semester, baking was something physical I could do that everyone would like. And the cookies chosen–gingerbread, Russian teacakes (or snowballs, or Mexican teacakes–those tiny balls of powdered sugar have a trillion names), jam thumbprints, jam swirls….they were all cookies that, for me, represented the best parts of the holiday season, the warm, gooey family tradition bits that all Christmas movies try very, very hard to evoke. Except…maybe Die Hard? I need to see Die Hard…
It has all the favorite hallmarks of a holiday tradition, is my point. Tasty treats, sentimental feelings, and, also, it costs less than $50 for ingredients, minus gingerbread decorating. Mostly, I have to buy butter. So, so much butter. Did you know that even one batch of powdered teacakes is basically just nuts and sugar and two full sticks of butter? There’s not even that much flour, if memory serves. That means that for the double batch that makes 150, I’m sticking four sticks of butter in a mixer. That is so much butter it’s weird to even look at.
Fortunately, for me, and for my waistline, making six hundred cookies in a row kind of burns me out of even looking at sweet things, much less eating them, so I can feast my eyes on my bounty but I’m not tempted to eat them until all the gifts are delivered and the cookies that remain for me and my family are free game.
My family is less good at resisting the siren song of sweetness, but I’m known to get angry if anyone even stares at the cookies too long. They are gifts first, after all, and I want to be able to get an accurate count of my baking, goshdarnit!! Numbers are important to me!
So, I skipped a year, but the year after: 400 cookies. Last year, homemade peppermint bark aside, there were 600 cookies.
There’s still a pair of pants that has flour on them somewhere, I think.
This year, thanks to CSUS being my new school
with a new babe pool I have both: a great need for zen AND: some new friends to give cookies to! This year, I might add a gingerbread house! Or…not. Decorating 200 gingerbread cookies already takes like 3 hours.
Either way, the holiday cookies from Chez Blossom will abound. And, no worries, KSSU, I’ll freeze some dough for the beginning of the spring semester, too.
–DJ Blossom (aka Anne)