Doing Things a Little Differently

It was THAT day today- The 4th Sunday of Advent. It was also Cookie Day! If you have been a DIYeter for a while, you know that my family is all about the cookies for Christmas. Despite the changes, challenges, and outright tragedies that 2022 has thrown at us, we still managed to have a sweet day. Some things followed our typical Christmas traditions, some things we did differently. Come along, and share an afternoon of joy and love!

My dad and I actually started baking on Friday. We made a batch of traditional shortbread, which we do every year. Dad’s favorite recipe is just three ingredients: one and a half cups flour, three-quarters cup butter, and one third cup sugar. Combine them with a pastry blender, press the dough into a 9×9 pan and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes. The mixing and baking process magically turns a trio of pantry staples into an amazing treat.

Next- a shake up! We made a second batch of shortbread but substituted one half cup of bacon drippings for one half cup of the butter. Why would we do such a thing, you ask? We just wanted to see what would happen. The final product (on the left in the last picture above) was more crumbly than the all-butter version and had a very light bacon flavor. Next time, we will probably use less bacon fat and add some very finely chopped cooked bacon. Are we already planning cookie day for next year? Yes, yes we are.

Today (Sunday), I went back to Dad’s house for more baking. We were joined by my dear friend/sister by choice/fellow cookie enthusiast, Jessie. First, we made a double batch of these amazing lemon biscotti. We had never made biscotti before, so this is another shake-up. Besides, if you are going to crash and burn with a new recipe, it is more fun to crash and burn with loved ones around, right?

Unfortunately, I was a very silly person and forgot to take a picture of the final cookies. However, the interesting part of biscotti, in my opinion, is the middle step. “Biscotti” literally means “baked twice”. Before they are those lovely, crispy slices you see in the fancy coffee shops, biscotti are long, lumpy loaves. Check out our loaves after their first baking. Dad carefully cut the loaves into slices. The slices went in to a slightly less hot oven for the second baking. The results were delicious. This cookie might become a Christmas regular!

In between biscotti baking cycles, you guessed it, we decorated Moravian Spice Cookies. (Click hear for a much earlier blog where I share the recipe). As usual, we followed our house rule: if you decorate gingerbread folk, you have to give them a name and a back story. Check out the friends we made:

He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, but he can’t tell how far away you are because he has no depth perception. YES! SantaClopse has once again visited the Food It Yourself team!

Mr. S.C. is a 1,751 y/o male, transferred urgently from St. Nicholas Hospital with an aortic aneurysm. He is currently under general anesthesia awaiting emergent repair.

Jessie was not sure of her real name, but this is the grifter/troublemaker who hangs out at the local gas station. We’re calling her “Methany”. Do not give her money. The cold medicine she is buying is NOT for her sick third grader.

The fedora, the sharp suit, and those blue eyes… Mr. Frank Sinatra, everyone!

This is Joey. Joey owns the absolutely legitimate nightclub where Mr. Sinatra is performing tonight. You got a problem with that?

Here is another friend we have not seen in a while: DJ DadBod! As usual, he’s rocking his aloha shirt and sandals (with socks) while spinning his latest hit- a mash up of “Margaritaville” and “Lime in the Coconut”. Let’s dance!

This is Greg. Greg had a little too much to drink at the office Christmas party and is currently running around with no clothes. (We have blurred out the X-rated bits, as this is a family-friendly blog.) Greg has a meeting with HR tomorrow morning.

This is Debbie. Debbie is a hair stylist. Debbie is rolling her eyes at you because you cut your own bangs.

  • Me: Dad, who is that?
  • Dad: It’s flounder man.
  • Me: Is flounder man a superhero of some kind.
  • Dad: No, he’s just flounder man.

This is Jenny-Lynne Forsburg, who has just been crowned Miss Jingle Belle 2022. Isn’t she pretty, folks?

Look out, DJ DadBod, you have some fierce competition on the dance floor. DJ MomJeans would like to speak to your manager about the lame beats you’re dropping.

And finally, this is a Venusian. Their face is up-side-down because they are from Venus.

Jessie noted, and I agreed, it was very strange to have Cookie Day without my sister Syllie. I was afraid the feelings would get too big, and I honestly thought about not making them this year. I am so glad that we did. Following this tradition was, in fact, comforting. I feel like it brought her spirit to us. ❤

Big holidays always come with big traditions. There are so many holidays this time of year- what are you celebrating? What food traditions are a part of the celebration? Share in the comments!