I’ll be the first to admit it. I have no shame in admitting it, either. Pre-Jake I was a self-proclaimed mini Martha Stewart. I semi-regularly updated my crafting blog, I kept a well-decorated house for every season, I baked, I knit, I sewed, I quilted, and man, I even sewed myself a dress! I figured this would change just a little bit once I had Jake, but no way would I ever begin to believe I, self-proclaimed Mini Martha, would give up baking, sewing handbags for friends, and quilting. Never! I’d find the time! I’d break out my sewing machine when baby was fast asleep in his crib, pluggie in mouth and woobie in hand.
And, like so many others before me, I had to admit defeat. And it was not easy, let me tell you. I still keep a well-decorated home (with the help of Nonna, who, while I was decorating kept Jake away from table cloths, holiday candy dishes, and the very pricey German ornament tree), I find time to sew, albeit not quite as frequently as before (on my days off while Jake is having fun with Poppy in the living room), and I do bake. I may not have had the time (or energy) to bake 3 pies for Thanksgiving this year, but 1 pumpkin pie and 1 pretty huge apple crisp sufficed.
So after this first major holiday with a baby, I began to get a little nervous about Christmas. I’ve always enjoyed baking cookies. As a rent-poor college graduate living in Boston, for years I gave out homemade fudge and cookies as Christmas gifts. Then, as a flat broke law student, I gave out tins of cookies and knit scarves for friends. To me, I get the biggest joy out of putting White Christmas in the DVD player and singing along with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye to “Sisters” while i cut out gingerbread men and roll up rugelach. A lot of people might see this as a chore, but baking Christmas cookies is just one of the many things I love about Christmas.
Fast forward to now now. Now I have dinner time, bath time, and bed time. Translation= no time for cookie time. But wait! Yes, working mom, you can have your cookies, and eat them too! I’ve found a pretty good workaround for making Christmas cookies this year, thanks to my homegirl, Martha.
Last year while sitting at the doctor’s office waiting for the results of my 1 hour glucose test (*shudder* as repressed memory returns to haunt me), I flipped through Martha Stewart’s December issue of Living, and came across this amazing section on how to take one basic cookie dough recipe and using the simple variations listed in the directions, make batches of assorted icebox cookies. Simply? All you do is mix the cookie dough, throw in a few mix-ins like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruit, roll the dough into logs, refrigerate, and slice and bake. Yep, slice and bake. The best part is that you do not have to devote an entire evening to cookie baking (although, you are more than welcome!) On night one, you mix the dough, shape it into a log, and put it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it the next night. I have even frozen the dough- it keeps for up to one month in the freezer. In fact, i have 4 rolled cookie logs waiting to be sliced and baked for Christmas. I figured with Christmas and parties, and family get togethers right around the corner, might as well get started with the cookie dough before the fun really begins…
Slice and bake icebox cookies are some of the easiest cookies to make, and as you can see from Martha’s picture, you end up with batches of different cookies- chocolate, nuts, dried cranberries and a teaspoon of lemon or orange zest, and you’ve got yourself gourmet slice and bake cookies to please pretty much anyone. You can find Martha’s recipe here:
My favorite combinations are:
- Citrus dough mixed with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries
- Chocolate dough mixed with chopped white chocolate and chopped almonds
- Basic vanilla dough mixed with chopped pecans and chopped milk chocolate
So yes, working mom, you can have your cookies and eat them, too! So head on over to Martha’s website and pick out your favorite cookie combos to make your holiday a little home-made this year, and don’t forget the White Christmas DVD…