Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Cheer....Cookie Version



One year in a fit of temporary insanity and a heart overflowing with Goodwill Towards Man (in this case my neighbors and friends), I decided to make Christmas Goodies for them. When you start something like this it behooves one to think ahead....far, far ahead, and see if this is going to become a 'tradition' or is it just a 'treat'. As usual I did not think ahead, and when people thanked me profusely for the goodie baskets I was happy and inadvertently started a 'tradition'. Now unless people are 'feeding me a line' it seems the Sugar Cookies are looked forward to, fought over, hidden and scarfed down quickly in quiet, secluded corners--so as not to have to share. The first few years I had a good variety of cookies and candies....but all anyone could talk about was the Sugar Cookies. So, after a few years of baking a variety, I have finally settled on just a few items---all cookies (or bread). The two that have withstood the test of time, are of course the Sugar Cookies and the Chocolate Cherry Cookies. I also bake soft raisin cookies, peanut butter and chocolate chip (or M & M) cookies to round out the baskets somewhat, even if the receivers wouldn't be unhappy with a basket full of Sugar Cookies! Occasionally I will try something different if a recipe catches my eye.

Now the Sugar Cookies are just that---SUGAR (with a little of the other stuff thrown in)! They are one of the easiest cookies to make and I use a 'no roll' recipe, even though I do roll them out and faithfully cut out shapes that nobody can tell what they are (or could even care as they sink their teeth into them). What makes these cookies really taste good are the powdered sugar icing. Again simple---margerine (or butter), powdered sugar and a little water to make it spreadable. Of course food coloring is added to make them look festive. Sometimes they don't look that great, because I gob the icing on nice and thick, but people don't seem to care. These cookies are so sweet that it would be best to ration yourself to one...or two.....

These cookies aren't hard, but very time consuming---especially putting the icing on. This is why the baskets don't have just sugar cookies. Takes to long, the icer needs variety.

I tend to put everything off to the last minute, so it becomes quite a baking marathon towards the end. The part I enjoy the most, is finally assembling the baskets and delivering them. They look festive, and getting to visit with my neighbors and friends for just a bit is always a treat. Now, I don't do tons of these ----just 7 or 8----depending on if I add anyone to 'list'. Through out the year I'm always on the lookout for decorative tins, baskets or whatever that will make a good tray for the cookies. This year, I was short on containers, so ended up buying one official decorative plastic basket thingy, and about 4-5 small paint buckets. These cost less than $1.50 each and can be re-used for lots of things about the house. They usually come in bright colors like blue or orange. To round out some of the baskets I include some packages of cheese from the local cheese store, or some homemade bread from the bread machine. This year a friend from work gave me a large roll of clear fancy cellophane so I was able to wrap the baskets all up fancy at the end.

As I'm doing the baskets I usually make one extra for the "Christmas Stranger". :-) I started doing this a couple of years ago for no reason I could think of at time. However, my water quit working on Christmas Eve, and I expected not to have water til well after the holiday(its a long story so I'll only hit the highlights!) The pump guy was called, and wonder of wonders he called back shortly and said he was on his way. I was so happy. It turned out the water was frozen up in the wellhouse, and although he didn't think thats where it was frozen--he thought it would be in the maze of pipes between there and the house. He ran the torch in the wellhouse and happily that solved the problem. He refused to take any pay for this (even though he was making a 36 mile round trip) but I was able to practically throw a tin of cookies in his truck before he drove off! He did say he wouldn't refuse cookies.....

There is also the Christmas Eve Plate that gets filled at the same time as the baskets. This is the tray I take to our Christmas eve gathering at Mom and Dad's. Now, last year, I had boughten a slightly smaller platter---the other was huge and a bit flimsy. I didn't think anyone would notice. They did. "They" informed me, that did I think they would not notice that I had shrunk the size of "their" Christmas platter???? Oops....

2 comments:

Tessa said...

Hee hee! I kept the cellophane off of my gift to reuse...

And seriously. Did you really think we wouldn't notice a smaller platter??? Hmmph.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Happy New Year, friend! I LOVE the idea of having a gift (edibles are perfect) for a Christmas stranger. I'm going to have to incorporate that into our family traditions here.

Would you share your Sugar Cookie recipe, since the end result is so coveted?