The Art of the Christmas Sugar Cookie…Missouri Style

Christmas 2013 066As I mentioned in the Christmas in Missouri post, sugar cookies are a tradition within a tradition.  The first tradition being that cookies are served as snacks in general throughout Christmas but most importantly as part of the snack spread before mass on Christmas Eve.  Then the decorating of the cookies to get them ready for the snack spread is its own thing.  I wish I had captured Allison’s explanation from the beginning.

 

I love Sean’s dad saying “it’s amazing” after being told I was outlining the cookies in a different color.  It’s funny.  I was still getting my feet wet with the process and could only think about how my mom outlines the cookies in white and then colors the insides.  I had a hard time letting go of that even though my mom doesn’t use the star tip.  It’s a different method entirely.Christmas 2013 050We ended up with a very cheery color palette.  I wouldn’t call this super bright though. Christmas 2013 052I had no idea this is the proper way to put a tip on the end of a bag!Christmas 2013 055Christmas 2013 054The classic way to fill a bag in this household is with a cup.  I used this method too and it was nice and easy.Christmas 2013 053But Shelley’s pretty fancy and can do it freehand.Christmas 2013 064Allison’s the best at mustaches, eyebrows, and leaves.  I mean, isn’t that the cutest mustache?!Christmas 2013 070Christmas 2013 068Beautiful!  And fun!

The couple that bakes together stays together

I’m still putting the finishing touches on our San Francisco trip video, but in the meantime…

Sean’s out of town this evening through late tomorrow evening for work.  He emailed me mid-afternoon yesterday suggesting we do something together since he’ll be gone.  He biked to work so asked me if I would pick up a few things for our project.  He sent me this very specific list and as soon as I saw the Crisco I knew we were making chocolate chip cookies.

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This is Sean’s favorite preparation of chocolate chip cookies.  Sean made these on a very early date.  All I could think was, really, Crisco?  I’m not even sure I’d had anything with Crisco in it before he made these cookies for me.

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This is Sean proclaiming to me that Crisco is great.  I don’t remember loving these cookies the last time.  Sean said it was because we were too new in our relationship and I didn’t trust him yet.  I think it was just idea of Crisco.

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We had a fun time making these together.  I like to bake more than to cook because baking is so specific.  I am someone who scoops the flour into the measuring cup and then levels it off.  I was happy Sean let me handle the flour and that he observed this rule himself with the salt and baking soda.

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Having only seen the ingredient list initially I was shocked this recipe only called for half the bag of chocolate chips.  Turns out you only need half the bag if you’re including nuts.  We didn’t so the whole thing went in!

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I got out my cookie dough scoop and made these very happy, perfectly shaped cookies.  I was so proud!  Sometimes the dough doesn’t cooperate and the cookies don’t come out so perfectly shaped even with the scoop.

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Sean was happy enough to eat a few of my smaller sized cookies but before all the dough was gone he requested to make a batch of his own.

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I think he may have actually called these man sized cookies.

I have to admit these are very good cookies.  I’m not sure what my problem was the last time but these are great and I would make them with you anytime, Favorite!

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Penzeys!

As I wrote about my cookies last week, it completely slipped my mind to share with you the best thing that’s ever happened to my desert ingredient arsenal.  Penzeys vanilla!  This bottle of goodness entered my kitchen thanks to Sean’s parents!

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The Barefoot Contessa always tells us to use good vanilla.  But she also tells us to use good olive oil and good chocolate and good everything.  What does that mean?  She always hides the label.  Who has time to track that down?  I’m still clueless on good olive oil, but Penzeys helped me understand the difference good vanilla can make.  When I’m making something, like sugar cookies, where the vanilla plays a key role the Penzeys vanilla really shines and makes the desert that much better.

This week I did not follow through with my Christmas cookies in July plan, but I did need a sweet treat for book club.  One of our members has Celiac’s disease, and I didn’t want to make another batch of gluten-free box mix brownies.  (They’re actually very good but who doesn’t like to try new things?)   I was so happy to find this very delicious recipe for vanilla frozen yogurt.  It’s been so hot and something cooled seemed like just the right thing, especially with berries.  It was so simple and so, so good.  It was the most talked about desert at book club.

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More importantly, it helped remind me to share the wonder of Penzeys with you!  If you have an ice cream maker (and you might be able to get away with just freezing the ingredients for a modified variation) I highly recommend whipping up a batch of vanilla frozen yogurt to cool down your weekend.  Even if you don’t have time to grab some Penzeys.