Two words: lowered expectations.
Once upon a time, I was very gung ho about doing everything “right” for the holidays. Christmas cards written and sent in early December, gifts wrapped perfectly, tree and decorations up, many varieties of cookies baked, etc.
Several years ago, I stopped obsessing about holiday preparations and just did what I felt like doing. Basically, I took the pressure off myself.
This year, no cookies have been baked. In recent years I’ve only made cookies to bring to the office holiday party, and the only reason I did that was because our office director (who recently retired) planned the party and I participated out of respect for her. I’ll not be going to the office party this year (it’s tomorrow) — I’ve got a fair amount of work I need to complete this week and don’t want to waste the time.
No decorations this year. I’ve got a fake tree but since I got a new tv and stand a few months ago, have no place to put said tree, so it will stay in the closet.
I did manage to wrap the gifts yesterday. So now I’m all set for the holidays.
This may not work for you but it sure as heck does for me. If something feels more like a chore than fun, I simply don’t do it.
In direct opposition to that, I want to share an excellent cookie recipe that I used to make at Christmas. The reason for this is that Sheri asked last Friday what our favorite cookie recipes were and I told her this was mine. So this is for Sheri, and everyone else who loves cookies!
makes 4 dozen cookies
1 cup butter
2 -1/3 cups unsifted flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp hjorthornssalt
1-1/4 cups sugar. less 2 tablespoons
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Brown the butter in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. Let the butter cool and solidify.
Mix the next three ingredients together.
Cream the solidified butter and sugar together until light. Mix in the dry ingredients.
Form into balls (the dough will be slightly crumbly and fragile) and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the cookies are slightly browned and their surfaces crack. Transfer carefully to wire racks to cool.
At this point, you are no doubt asking what the heck hjorthornssalt is. It is known as “baker’s ammonia” in this country, and can be ordered from some baking supply catalogs. I see that an Amazon.com seller has it here.
I wouldn’t try making these cookies without it. You can sub another leavening agent, but you won’t get the same “melt in the mouth” consistency.
Lucy is having a quiet moment here: