Christmas Cookies: I’ll Be Home For Christmas!
I spent the last 2 Christmases in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I do not have a big family and Christmas Day is usually not all that exciting, so it wasn’t on December 25th when I felt horribly homesick. It was 2 weeks before, when I should have been home with my Mama baking thousands of cookies.
Tradition hit me hard abroad
I accepted the 100 degree weather in December. I accepted the lack of lights and Christmas trees. However, I could not get over a Christmas without Cookie Weekend. Every year since I have been old enough to hold a spoon, my mother and I have spent an entire day, which later turned into an entire weekend, baking cookies. My first year abroad, I made 300 cookies, by hand, in a closet-sized kitchen in an apartment with air conditioning. You can read about that adventure here. The second year, I had a slightly bigger kitchen and air conditioning. Although I was still mixing by hand, I managed to upgrade to 1000 cookies.
This year, I’m home for Christmas
I don’t care about being home for Christmas Day, but being home for Cookie Weekend has made my holiday amazing. Two weeks ago, my mother and I baked 2,100 cookies. . It’s a very American Christmas this year!
It’s a lot of work.
We make 6 different kinds of cookies: chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, sugar, chocolate mint, mexican wedding, and butter with chocolate.
Day one: 800 cookies baked
We began at 7:30am. That’s pretty outrageously early for a freelancer who likes to stay up late.
On day one we baked off all of the sugar cookies and decorated them. In previous years, we opted out of icing the cookies because it takes so long and we have so many other cookies to do. However, since it had been 2 years since we had done cookies together, we got a bit ambitious.
The process took 3 freaking hours.
But look how pretty they are!
We also baked off all the mexican wedding cookies, which are quite a messy ordeal with all that powdered sugar.
We baked off a few chocolate chip and butter, then spent the rest of the day prepping batter for Day 2.
We wrapped up for dinner at around 7pm, so just under a 12 hour day.
We got a “late” start at 8:30 am. We had a minor catastrophe involving the chocolate chip cookies. I swear, this happens all the time. For a completely unknown reason, several trays of everyone’s favorite cookie will come out flat and hideous. Tasty, but hardly aesthetically pleasing. This causes a minor panic. Eventually, my mother and I’s combined efforts and hopes magically fixes the cookies. The ugly ones go into our bellies and no one has to see them, ever.
Day 2 was all about chocolate. While I baked off all the chocolate chip cookies, my mother melted down this 10lb slab of chocolate.
About half of this was used to dip the butter cookies into.
Once those beauties were taken care of, we added a bit of mint and got going on the chocolate mint cookies.
So what do we do with 2,100 cookies?
We give them away. Sure, my mom and I keep some for ourselves, but we tend to be overly picky and only want our cookies hot. It’s the curse of having a baker for a mother, you become a baked good snob. Almost all the cookies we bake get packed up in tins and given away as gifts. I even mailed 6 tins out this year to Colorado, New Jersey, Maryland, and Puerto Rico. I saved a tin for my UPS guy as well, since he is constantly delivering packages to us. Most of them get expertly organized into festive tins (my mother are I totally rule at Tetris) but the chocolate mint and mexican wedding cookies get their own baggies, so they don’t contaminate any other cookies with their potent flavors.
The packing takes awhile, so we ended up finishing around 9pm. So, in total, my mother and I spent 24 hours baking and packing up cookies for the holidays. My legs were sore, my feet were aching, and I couldn’t wait to go to sleep. Best weekend ever. It means so much to me to have been able to share in this tradition with my mother again. I may not be around for Christmas day all the time, but I will always do my best to be home for Cookie Day.