Monday, December 22, 2014

The Time is Near!

We have been busy as bees getting ready for Christmas! Paul is finally off work and excitedly helping me with my long list of items to complete before Christmas Eve. We've planned our menus, gathered our grocery items (minus the fish for our Christmas Eve feast), shopped for stocking stuffers for the kiddos, and finished cleaning and decorating. It's been great having him home!

Matthew has been drawing lots of Christmas pictures - mainly consisting of some scary-looking snowmen, irregularly sized nativity scenes (baby Jesus is always way bigger than Mary or Joseph - perhaps he is symbolically representing their importance???), and lots of elves hard at work in Santa's toy shop. He's been very well-behaved and I hope that it is not only because he knows Santa is watching. He listens very closely to song lyrics and one of his favorites is "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" so I know he has been picking up on the whole "Santa is always watching" theme. 

After Matthew's preschool party the other day, he brought home and proudly hung the biggest ornament I have ever seen in my life on our Christmas tree. I had to move it to the back because seeing his floating face in the tree out of the corner of my eye startled me on more than one occasion.

Yesterday, Paul and Matthew spent the afternoon making cookies. Paul was in charge of making Spicy Gingerbread Men, Candy Cane Crisps, Peanut Butter Drops, World Peace Cookies, and Sugar Cookies. In the five hours they spent baking, they only completed the Gingerbread and the Candy Cane Crisps so they'll be back to bake another day. 

Matthew was especially excited to make the Gingerbread. It is his favorite cookie by far and he loves helping roll out the dough and cutting out the shapes. 

Where were Emma and I the entire time? Emma was napping and I was relaxing. I have finally caught the horrible cold that has been wreaking havoc with the rest of the family and I can barely see out of my puffy, watery eyes. The last thing I felt like doing was baking, so it was nice to relax while the men did some work.

In case you were wondering, he wears a wrinkled undershirt like a uniform around our house. 

He loved the batter for the Candy Cane Crisps but after seeing the
finished cookie he wanted nothing to do with them!

Paul was feeling a bit tired when it came time to roll the dough for his Candy Cane Crisps so he forego rolling them in powdered sugar and just put them on the baking sheet. The powdered sugar really helps the buttery dough keep it's shape during baking and as a result he ended up baking up batch after batch of the flattest cookies in the world. 

It takes immense talent to get a cookie this flat.

The taste is wonderful, but they are pretty ugly little things. The kids wouldn't touch them, but that didn't bother Paul a bit. He'll probably eat the whole batch within the week since they are his favorite cookies.

One new cookie we made this year were these Orange-Cranberry Crinkles from the blog Lauren's Latest. I absolutely adore the combination of citrus and cranberry and wanted to give these a shot. The kids were in love with these cookies which should come as no surprise since they love anything fruit-related (this is the reason we are stuffing their stockings with fresh fruit instead of candy!) They smelled the orange zest in the batter and came running. Matthew was very confused to see it was the cookie batter he had been smelling! Everyone in the family was distraught when I gave away 3/4 of the batch as gifts for Matthew's preschool teachers.

They did not have the traditional crinkle "look" to them after baking and cooling, but they were still pretty fantastic. Soft, chewy, sweet and just slightly tart from the fresh cranberries. These will certainly be making a reappearance on our cookie platter next Christmas.

Cranberry-Orange Crinkle Cookies

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 whole egg
Zest of one orange
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries
½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, egg, orange zest and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Fold in chopped cranberries. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a 2 teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown. Keep a close eye on them since the particular oven and cookie sheets you use will effect the baking time. The cookies should have a matted look and not be "shiny" or "melty" in appearance. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. I found these a bit difficult to transfer since they were so soft! 


  1. Hahaha I love the floating head ornament. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. As always, I enjoy your posts and photos. Hope you and family have an especially nice Christmas. When my son was little he asked why the word Christmas is shortened with an "x". He thought it should be shortened with a "cross" instead. I thought that was such a good idea that, to this day, I use the cross instead of the x: Merry +-mas and peace, happiness, and health in the New Year!

  3. I love Paul's cookies with his ND engineering shirt. Hahaha. Merry Christmas!!