I mentioned in the “Snowy Day” post that I would fill you in on the further details of our cookie decorating party, and here they are!
This is a tradition that started about four Christmases ago, when I was getting ready to prepare my usual cookie plates. A large bulk of the cookies are decorated sugar cookies – they’re festive and fun, not too difficult, and have a sweet simplicity that people seem to enjoy. However, in large quantities, they are horrifyingly tedious. Sugar cookies are refrigerator cookies – the dough needs to be chilled, then rolled out with a pin and cut into shapes, or rolled into a log and sliced into circles if you’re less ambitious. The baker then baby-sits umpteen cookie sheets at about 5-8 minutes each, finally decorating them when they’re cool. I prefer to make a simple icing, color it, and paint the cookies. Which is fun for about five cookies or so, but when one is making five dozen becomes the most boring task imaginable. I found I’d often resort to dipping cookies into one color or another just to be done. The joy was being sucked out of my holiday preparations!
Then, in 2006, it struck me that what I needed was help. Not only to reduce the number of cookies I was icing, but to inject a little fun into the proceedings. I decided to throw a party – not a cookie swap, I didn’t need cookies coming INTO the house, but a decorating soiree, complete with savory snacks and mulled wine! (Mulled wine is a sure-fire way to make your house smell like Christmas, as well as to make a $14 box of wine a completely acceptable beverage to serve to your guests. I’d link you a recipe, but I just use a tin of mulling spices and follow the directions on it. My only real addition – orange slices.) That first year just four folks came over, but we had such a grand time that I vowed never to ice alone again.
We’ve come a long way with this party – more participants, better snacks, and prizes for arbitrary categories of my choosing! This year I even made different sorts of sugar cookie – a regular batch, a double-vanilla batch, and a spiced batch. I nearly didn’t hold it this year, what with all of the Marathon baking, but I’m really glad I did. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the season with good friends!
Here are this year’s winning cookies!
And last but not least…
Thank you to everyone who came out this year and celebrated with us! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and to those who don’t, Happy Year’s End!