Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas cookies

It all started a couple of days ago when my daughter came back from school with a note from her teacher asking me if I could donate a dozen cookies for an upcoming event at the school. It sounded all perfectly doable until I saw the handwritten side note specifying Christmas cookies.
Panic struck me : I had never baked Christmas cookies. As a matter of fact we are not very familiar with the my-kitchen-is-turned-into-a cookie-factory-for-the-entire-month-of-December kind of tradition that other families seem to wholeheartedly embrace or shall I say observe religiously each year. Anyway it came in a timely manner to remind me that I had yet to return that empty box to my neighbor who had given me a share of her yearly tradition…I would return the empty box full… with more Christmas cookies.
I still had to find both the inspiration and the recipe to start my little enterprise.
The Washington Post saved me. The Wednesday edition features a food section I always enjoy flipping through. I already had in mind the kind of cookies I wanted to make : a frosted sugar cookie.

Because a) I get to roll out my dough and have fun choosing and cutting the shapes and b) I get to choose the color of the frosting. That sounded like tons of fun. As I unfolded the paper my would-be cookies were making the front page : delicate, slightly iridescent snowflake cookies. They were part of a larger project consisting of an entire Christmas wreath as an edible ornament ; for me they would remain cookies and I was ready for the challenge.

Making my own roll out cookie dough proved trickier than I had hoped and more time consuming as the dough had to be refrigerated overnight then rolled to the desired thickness (also a tricky part) and cut without either sticking to the counter (definitely the trickiest part) or become a stretched melting deformed version of the original shape. It would then have to be refrigerated one more time before going in the oven.
Then came the frosting and my memorable first time using a piping bag armed with a number 2 tip. The result : pretty little sugary treats.
I still had to find a suitable way to package my confections for the school. I had kept a bulky plastic container which used to hold my organic baby arugula in its first life. I was going to give it a second one. I would tie a nice piece of ribbon around it to give it that festive look and there : my eco-chic cookie box.

And who knows it might even be a lucky salad container and get a third life as a craft box in a happy first grade classroom?

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