Author Darci Hannah
Sugar Cookie Shame
Every December I get excited to do some holiday baking and, when it comes to Christmas treats, I pull out all the stops. Here at the Hannah house we fire up the toffee kitchen in early December, making pounds and pounds of our delectable toffee for our family and friends. We make fudges, candies, Christmas breads and yes, cookies. I love making cookies. The prettier the better. There’s nothing that spreads holiday cheer like a room full of good friends and a tray full of beautiful, tasty Christmas cookies. However, there is one Christmas cookie that I refuse to subject my friends to, and that’s the Hannah version of the sugar cookie.
It’s one of our most cherished holiday traditions. I bake trays and trays of pretty sugar cookie cutouts and the boys (husband, John and our sons, Jim, Dan and Matt) sit around the table and decorate. It’s one of my recurring delusions. Every December I scan the internet for beautifully decorated sugar cookies and attempt to duplicate the masterpieces by whipping up icings in every color. I then show the boys images of what the Christmas sugar cookie looks like in normal households and cross my fingers.
However, reality soon strikes. I mean, I have three boys in their early to mid-twenties and a husband who reverts to his college days the moment the frosting bag touches his fingers. Giving them holiday shaped cookies, icing and license to decorate is akin to trusting a teething puppy with a library book. It’s just not going to end well.
Let me illustrate the problem for you. Here’s what the sugar cookie is supposed to look like, and here’s what I got.
I should also explain that many of them were not appropriate to post on the internet let alone put on a cookie tray. However, some actually display talent. Jim, whose girlfriend, Alison, was with us, took the high road and turned an angel, teddy bear, gingerbread man and snowman into the Simpsons.
Matt turned ornaments into flags.
He then decided to stack cookies (less work that way) and went 3D with this family of turtles. Because nothing says Christmas like a sad family of turtles!
John took a teddy bear, broke off its head and gave it a “murder mystery” twist. He thought it would give me some inspiration on my next novel, but what it really did was secure his place on the Naughty List.
Another boy who went straight to the Naughty List was Dan. I can’t show you why. You’re just going to have to take my word for it. But I will say, to his credit, Dan is deviously creative.
Although Christmas cookie time often turns into utter chaos at our house, I can’t end on that note. Nope, I refuse. Because the truth is the holidays are always a little crazy. It’s only to be expected when we lead busy lives then reach even higher to create something special and magical for those we love. But it’s also just as important to keep the holidays in perspective. I may have wanted picture-perfect sugar cookies, but I cherish the perverse lumps of dough and sugar I got instead. I cherish them because my sons took time out of their busy lives to come home and sit around the kitchen table and play with colored frosting. They want to keep our silly tradition alive. And for me that’s the real spirit of the season—being together as a family, laughing and having a good time.
Although it’s a shame that no one outside the family will ever taste our sugar cookies, we know that beneath the inappropriate frosting, they’re delicious. Thanks to Jim, Alison and myself, there were a few cookies that were "cookie tray" approved for Santa’s visit.
So this year when your cookies don't quite turn out the way you'd like them too, remember, it could be worse. Merry Christmas!
Gingerbread Wishes & Sugar Plum Dreams,
Darci (and family)