Note: No humans, animals or prehistoric sugar cookies were harmed in the making of this post.
“Constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping stones of genius.” ~Elbert Hubbard
Baking reality #1: Sometimes Snowflakes become Dinosaurs.
This is 100% OK and even encouraged in my kitchen. See that green guy above? That was a snowflake. No really, it was. I have always struggled with sugar cookies. And even when I make the most time tested of recipes, such as this Sugar Cookie classic from the Joy of Baking, they turn out crazy. I haven’t the patience for the dough (thus my amoeba shaped cookies) or the icing (although the Royal Icing made with egg whites in the Joy of Baking recipe is awesome).
What matters is the cookies TASTE good. So what if you have prehistoric cookies for Christmas? As long as they taste like they were made in this century, you’re golden. Some of my most memorable baking moments are from time spent icing and decorating sugar cookies with friends. I was recently in a holiday gifts cooking class and the teacher was hyping up her next class on beautifully, perfectly iced sugar cookies. The cookies were AMAZING, but I hadn’t the slightest interest. My classmate turned to me and asked, “Would you rather have one beautiful cookie or a bunch of normal looking cookies?” The answer was obvious. After all, they’re all going in my belly.
Lesson 1: Work Sugar Cookie dough when it is COLD.
Lesson 2: Use ROOM TEMPERATURE ingredients to make the Royal Icing.
Lesson 3: Be creative and think outside the box when decorating.
Baking reality #2: Sometimes you forget an ingredient.
I made all of my doughs in advance this weekend when I was home alone and focused. Once our group got together we were focused on Christmas movies, pizza and cocktails. The one dough we made on-site as a group turned out to be a melty mess, as you can see in the video below. I did see some flour added, but my guess is it was measured incorrectly and we needed about twice as much.
We laughed and laughed. In the grand scheme of things baking isn’t that expensive and the loss of ingredients was minimal. The only real loss was the bag of Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. You better believe we were pulling those little suckers out of the middle of the melty mess to have a bite. As I mentioned in my Peppermint Meringue post, messes happen but the baking goes on.
Lesson 4: If you make a mistake, laugh it off. It isn’t the end of the world.
Lesson 5: When baking in a group (or alone) be sure to double check ingredients, it is worth the time.
Baking reality #3: Christmas baking is better with music, cocktails and friends or family.
I guess this is true of everything in life really. Good friends, a few cocktails and some jazzy music can really liven up your days and nights. My newest Christmas album favorite is A Very She & Him Christmas. And my newest holiday cocktail favorite is Four Roses Bourbon and Apple Cider (though I am infusing my own Cranberry Lime Vodka for New Year’s Eve).
As for “my peoples”, I’m blessed with wonderful friends and family across the country (with a few sprinkled overseas). The holiday season is a great time to sit down, share a drink and a laugh, and enjoy good company.
Lesson 6: The holidays (including baking) are even better with a little cocktail of choice (provided someone can still measure to accuracy).
Lesson 7: Share the holiday season with your favorite people, and don’t feel obligated to spend it with the grumps.
Hope you’re having a magically fun season. Happy Holidays Everyone!