C is for Christmas cookies

When I was a child, my father used to make hundreds of cookies at Christmas, cooling them and piling them on every horizontal surface he could find. The cookies went to friends, family, teachers, and—when my father’s back was turned—into the mouths of his six children.
Now my father’s cookies are called “Grandpa’s Cookies,” but way back when, they were called “electric cookies” because my father used a cookie dough shooter that he plugged into the wall. Only he could touch it, though we children helped decorate the cookies with M&Ms, chocolate chips, and cinnamon sugar.
I had never actually made the cookies myself until we were snowed in briefly last week. I pulled out the cookie dough shooter my sister Treasa gave me several years ago, and we set out to make our own electric cookies.
Daniel, who’s 4, loves to help with anything—and especially in the kitchen.
He stirred.
He made sure the sugar was sweet.
But I knew he was biding his time for the main event. He wanted to work the electric shooter. And Leo walked in just as we were getting to the good part. Our cookie machine is battery-powered, and once the boys had figured out how it worked, I let them try using it themselves.
The rule was that they had to work as a team—and they did. They took the job very seriously.
We didn’t have much on hand to decorate the cookies, but we had cinnamon sugar. And when you have cinnamon sugar, do you really need anything else?
The boys worked hard shaking those bottles.
And they shook them some more.
They emptied the bottles onto the dough.
If you look closely, you can see that there are cookies under the cinnamon.
Then over the weekend we rolled out dough and used cookie cutters to make cookies for Daniel’s birthday party.
I let the boys drive this activity, and they picked from the few cookie cutters we have on hand.
We ended up with hearts, stars, snowmen, a variety of Star Wars shapes, and a few creative ones the boys made themselves.
Leo made a stable with a star, while Daniel asked for help with a manger (which worked) and a chair (which failed).
We tried to make Star Wars figures with bodies using our gingerbread man cutter.

They looked great, but most of them fell apart coming off of the pan.
By the end the boys had flour all over themselves. They even had cookie dough on their feet. That’s something I would never have imagined happening until I became a mother to these two wonderful boys.
Are you wondering how the cookies tasted? Well, I thought they were quite good, but my fellow cookie bakers think It’s mainly about the process and not the results. Daniel tried a few cookies, but Leo didn’t want any.
Maybe I need to do what my father always did. I should tell them they can’t have any and turn my back. Then those cookies would fly off the cooling racks.
What are you cooking this Christmas? Do you have a favorite cookie to make during the holiday season?

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.