Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Catching up on Christmas - Cookie Baking!

One of the favorite holiday traditions on the Hoosier Country Homestead is cookie baking.  Each year we pick a day when everyone is home and we bake Christmas cookies.  Usually there are two or three kinds of cookies on the menu, but the 'secret' ingredient is not a special almond extract or red-and-green sprinkles.  It's family.  The only really special thing about the cookies is that making them is a family project.  De and I have done this since the oldest (now 26) was just big enough to stand on a chair and handle her own bit of dough.  This year was special because we got to be part of the very first time the two new granddaughters have had the opportunity to participate.  That made a wonderful tradition even more precious.

I struggled to 'pare down' my collection of pictures.  There are still a lot, so here goes:

The process starts, as one would expect, with mixing the dough.  This year De, Daughter #1 (D1) and the Son (S) handled that part of the job.

There were sugar cookies, a wheat-free Gingerbread, and wheat-free spritz cookies.  With the dough made and chilling, the sugar cookie "production line" was set up on the table and rest of the family was summoned to the task.  Let the fun begin!

The parchment paper is put down, the cookie cutters are set in place, and finally the dough is delivered.  Here D1 and S delivery the 'goods' to D2 and the two granddaughters waiting at the table.

With the dough rolled out its time for the cookie cutting to begin.  What fun it was to see the two young ones all covered  with flour and punching out cookies for the very first time!

De makes sure the "production line" doesn't get backed up and keeps the cookies going in and out of oven.  During baking, the support crew gets to take a break.

Son-in-Law (SIL) and S get a moment to rest while the cookie cutting continues.

You all know how hard the job of "Photo Documentarian" can be :) so I take the opportunity for a quick rest.  This and bath time (Grandma's job) are one of the few times I'm sitting and don't have a little girl or two in my lap - Not that I'm complaining!

Even Zyla decides it's time for little siesta.

With cookies out of oven and cooled the decorating process can begin. Frosting the cookies and getting the right 'sprinkles' on put the finishing touches on the project.

Everyone helps with the frosting chores.  We carefully explain that one of the key tenets of cookie making is that any cookie broken by a real and true accident can be consumed on the spot, but breaking cookies on purpose violates the rules.  I'm not entirely certain this bit of confectionery law was carefully adhered to (by anyone) but we had plenty of cookies when we were done so I guess it all worked out.

With frosting underway it was time to start with the sprinkles!  In the eyes of a child, as well as some 'big kids' you can never have too many sprinkles!

The final tidbit of cookie making jurisprudence is one we had to watch a bit more carefully.  "You can't lick the frosting knife or eat the left-over sprinkles until AFTER the last cookie is done."  I think D2 and SIL would have been fine with the more straightforward "You can't lick the frosting knife or eat the sprinkles.", but once Papa had spoken the former into cookie making law, it was too late to rescind it!

When it was all said and done, we ended up with a nice batch of cookies.  They tasted great and (thankfully) some were sent home with everyone involved.  But the cookies were really just a byproduct: They'll last a few days at most.  The memories of another Christmas spent together laughing, doing, and just enjoying family last a lifetime.  This is the stuff that 'family' is made of, and we are sooo blessed to have been entrusted with this one.  We thank the Lord for what He has given us, and pray we are honoring Him with our care of it.

Col. 1:9-12



  1. Those precious little girls will be so looking forward to next year's cookie bake! What a delightful (and loving) family experience that was. Thanks for taking (and posting!) all the pictures!

    1. We're already looking forward to next year, too! Cookie baking has been a holiday favorite for our family for two decades or so. Both our Moms made Christmas cookies with us from the time we were young, too. De and I were so honored to be there for the first time the tradition was handed down to the next generation. It was wonderful watching all of them, from the oldest to the youngest, enjoying the time together.

  2. Love your secret ingredient! It's truly things like these that make the traditions that are so special within each family. The best part is passing it on. Your photos are priceless. I can see the love and joy. What a treasure.

    1. The cookies are great but those kinds of memories are the stuff that helps both anchor and sustain through the hard times. The pure joy on those little girl's faces as they made their first cookies is a gift I will cherish forever.