Tag Archives: cookies

Buttery-Sugary Goodness just 11 Days before Christmas

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Baking Day @ Our House

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We scaled way back this year.  We have been scaling back yearly, it seems.  But we still mananged to get some of our favorites made and even a new thing or two, keeping that oven hot  and hopping for hours.  There are the wildly popular “Thin Mints,” a shameless and absolutely amazing rip-off of the Girl Scout cookies.  The sugar cookies for decorating are made and await a coating of royal icing in delightful Christmas colors.  Jovan used her new Pampered Chef cookie press to make the lightest most buttery press-cookies, dusted in colored sugars.

Stephanie has perfected peanut brittle.  There are Mexican Wedding Cakes and Gingerbread Men, along with Peanut-Butter Kisses-Cookies and Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls heaped next to our chocolate-dipped pretzels and “Strawberry” cookies (which have no relation whatsoever to strawberries, other than how they look, but really are made from dates and pecans and coconut and Rice Krispies and fashioned to look like a strawberry – a Rhoades family fav from the 1950s and 60s).  And more, yes, there is more.

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Things change.

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One interesting thing this year was computers.  Looking around the kitchen and seeing 3 laptops (2 Macs and a PC) open to recipe sites – that was funny.  So much for cute recipe cards, huh?  It was also quieter and we missed Elise-the-Niece…Well, it was quieter, that is, until the boys and daddies joined us and a chaotic-Christmas-cheer ruckus ensued, fueled, undoubtedly by the pure sweetness of the ‘cane hitting the bloodstream.

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The girls swarmed poor Santa

The guys show up for dinner at 6:30

The boys played cards with Aunt Dessa while the girls took our “food orders” for chicken nuggets and muffins, coffee and salad (their imaginary menus were limited and they are sort of pushy as waitresses, these granddaughters of mine).  The ‘bebes chased each other, snuck sweets from piled-high trays of goodies and pushed Rudolph’s paw,  making him sing the Rudolph song veeeeeery loudly, at least 172 times (that Rudolph nose was flashing like a traffic light, non-stop for hours!).  I seriously wished for some one to decapitate Rudolph.  But the grandbebes?  Find him delightful.

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Gemma was particularly artistic in her interpretive dancing, inspired by her viewing of “Frosty the Snowman.”  Averi’s great joys were bringing handfuls of cookies to everyone, or unrolling toilet paper into the, shall we say, “bath bowl”, and I just hope there was no criss-crossing of these activities.

And at one point, so warmed by both this season of good will and by the way they’d been running like banchees, all five grandbebes ripped off their shirts and flung them like confetti into the air, thrilled to be set free from the confines of clothing so they could fully enjoy the twinkling lights and the Christmas music.  “We’re nakey!  We’re nakey!” Averi exclaimed with glee and they laughed as if it were the funniest thing they’d ever experienced.

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Rocky and Tredessa interact with Santa as well.

Ah.  It is the little things.

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It took awhile to find every shoe and sock and coat amd mitten (and shirt) when it came time to go home with their large trays of cookies and candies.  {Sigh}.   But we did it…almost.  I still have to make the marvelous butter-cookie dough from which will emerge Raspberry Ribbons and melt-in-your mouth Candy Cane Cookies, among other delights, and the Peppermint Bark awaits me this morning.  But most of the holiday baking is complete for another year and it is way too much and more than enough and truly not as sweet as the time I got with my girls.  And the whole bunch.

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With Love from the Gingerbread House….Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Prep more next year.

Cookie Love

House of Love.

I got to see all my loves who were not in Honduras on Valentine’s Day.  What a bunch of smile-bringers!

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I may smack Martha Stewart in the chops.

I was innocently standing in line at WalMart, flipping through Martha’s latest magazine, when I saw the cutest cookies ever.  They were sugar cookie hearts glazed in all the colors of traditional conversation candy hearts.  I read the caption beside the photo that said you could just put red food color on a wet paper towel and use stampers to print the messages.

They were so simple – supposedly.  So lovely.  I decided I would do it – all the colors, all the conversation-heart sayings.  All for the ones I love.  I baked the cookies-on-sticks recipe, which truly works for bouquets and is amazingly delicious.  I have shared it here, before.

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The glaze is just water and powdered sugar and the tiniest bit of food color.  The first batch was so runny that the glaze just poured out all over the place – very little left on the cookie.  So, I thickened some of the glaze up and piped an outline on each of the cookies.  Soupy at first, it starts hardening in exactly 4.21 seconds.  Which-I did not realize until I had squished some blue glaze onto each of the cookies I was going to make blue, thinking I could spread it evenly in a minute.  I could not.  The blue were blotchy.  The red was too red.  It took until I got to the pink to finally get the consistency right and have the “flooding” technique down.  You go around and around the cookie, flooding it with the glaze.

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I decided not to do all the colors of the conversation heart candies.  I couldn’t bear it, after all.

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I did try the stamping technique and it worked OK and may have been better if I had spent more than $1 for the alphabet stamp set at Michael’s.  I didn’t measure, however, nor try to space evenly-so mine did NOT look like Martha’s.

In the future, I shall employ my normal cookie decorating techniques. 

For the love.

What makes us do these things?  Bake and decorate and try new things?  Because we love.  We love cookies.  And we love each other.  Sometimes we even love Martha.

Did you get sweets from your sweet?…Jeanie


pictured: Hunter and Gavin upside-down; Guini in her pink pj’s; Averi decked out in red and pink; Gemma-a girl and her popcorn;  outlined and filled cookies; stamped cookies; a little bouquet for my family.

Half Baked

It was Christmas baking day!  It was a mad flurry of flour and sugar, creamery butter and sprinkles. 


We had sent 63+ e-mails back and forth over the past two weeks (this may or may not be an exaggeration) in anticipation of Baking Day.  This is why I now know that approximately half of our concoctions are actually not baked at all.  It is amazing how many of the things we like are dipped in melted chocolate or blended and rolled into balls or cooked on a stove top before adding a certain snap, crackle and pop ingredient to a non-bake cookie.

Better-than-Girl-Scout “Thin-mints”/chocolate-dipped pretzels/peanut-butter balls/caramel cookies (can you possibly go wrong with a cookie that encases a Rolo and is topped with bits of Heath Bar??)/caramel popcorn balls/cookies-on-sticks/butter cookies/raspberry ribbons/decorated sugar cookies/peanut brittle (we always and ever have to throw the first unsuccessful batch out-what is up with that??)/Strawberries (which actually aren’t at all – not even in flavor)/royal icing/butter-cream icing/peanut blossoms-with-kisses-instead/almond bark/chocolate chips of every persuasion/peppermint/vanilla/almond/mini-cheesecakes/brownie assortments – all these and more threaten to throw us all into sugar shock.


Sadly, it was a balmy 108-degrees outside Saturday (another possible exaggeration), so we were shedding layers and had the doors and windows opened wide, drinking ice water like the dog days of summer.


In the end, even though my grandfather was a baker extraordinaire and owned a bakery for many years, and even though my other grandpa’s last name was “Baker,”  I don’t think I am one and I believe only 1 1/2 of my girls actually are bakers.  Maybe next year, we’ll let the 1 1/2 of them have a pre-baking day to really bake and we’ll have a non-baking Baking Day to eat their stuff and roll our tidbits in chocolate and that will be better.


Ended the day with the guys and kiddos joining us for the biggest pot of chicken and dumplings I have ever made in my life, because you know, we needed more flour and eggs. ;>[

Cup of coffee and some cookies, anyone?…Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF:  Get more Rubbermaid-pronto!

PICTURED (all thumbnails, click to enlarge): Top row ~ raspberry ribbons and other cookies; second row ~ some of the cookies in front of the homemade ornanament “memory” tree, the kids and Grandpa decorating cookies; third row ~ Gemma, Averi and Hunter with the biggest Santa in my collection; fourth row ~ Gav with Santa, niece, Elise with Averi and Stormie konks out after a long day of baking and fun.