I remember that day vividly, the alarm started buzzing at 6 a.m. as usual and yet there was no light to gently greet me and nudge me out of bed. Instead it was dark and all I could hear was the inner bear urging "Stay in bed where it's warm and safe." It was official, winter had arrived. I've been fighting that inner bear ever since. The days have grown increasingly shorter, the nights much colder. You'd think living in California we'd have this "winter" thing beat. I wish, oh how I wish we didn't, but we still get the fog, rain and all around I hate winter blues. Or at least this creature of the sunshine does.
I've been stuck non-stop in my kitchen cave turning out Christmas Cookies for all the good little girls and boys on my list. Scratch that - ungrateful, haven't called all year, no-good, whoops I think that darn bear took over the keyboard for a moment.
I thought perhaps if I made a Winter Survival Cookie Countdown Calendar I could eat my way through winter with cookies and no one would be harmed by the not-so-nice bear living in the house at the moment.
It is December after all and I wanted to take a break from building my Snowman Army and work on something a little more useful.
My initial thought was...eat one cookie for every day, but then I realized there will be days when one cookie just won't cut it. Like these particularly stressful days.
Prescription for administering the cookies:
Bad Hair Day: Eat daily cookie + Bad Hair Day cookie, if that doesn't work, eat days 1-5.
Kids getting on your nerves: Eat daily cookie + all the ones shown below.
Spouse or Friendly Type getting on your nerves: Eat daily cookie + hubs (wife) cookie and bring a book into the bathtub to spend some quality alone time. (I'd suggest your laptop, but I try not and advocate getting electrocuted). The cookies just aren't going to cut it.
PMS: Eat daily cookie + days 18-30 + one bottle of wine - Doctor's orders.
Menopausal episode: Eat the whole flippin calendar and warn hubs and children they are next, if they don't quit bugging the crap out of you.
I bet you are ready to run to the kitchen and get your Winter Survival Calendar made, aren't you; here is all you need to do so.
1. Make one recipe Sugar Cookie dough, cut days out with a 2" round cutter, put a hole near the top with a small straw and bake as usual. For the Month, cut out a 6" x 2" rectangle, a fluted pastry wheel works great for a scalloped edge.
2. Make one batch of royal icing for decorating; divide it into as many colors as you want. Place the icing into disposable piping bags with just a small amount of the tip cut off. Apply base color and let dry, when dry put number on top, for a little sparkle you can dust the number with sanding sugar. Do the words the same way.
3. For displaying the calendar, use an old cork board, cut a piece of Christmas wrap to fit inside and pin it up, then put a small piece of ribbon through each cookie and pin them to the board.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 each month, until the first sign of spring.
1 pound confectioner's sugar
3 tbsp. meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup water
Assorted food coloring
Place the meringue powder in a bowl and add a little bit of the water and mix until frothy. Add the confectioner's sugar and extract and start mixing. Slowly add the water and beat until the mixture resembles marshmallow fluff, but a little thinner. You might not need to add all of the water to get the right consistency. Separate into bowls and add food color.
I like to use this consistency as a dual purpose icing, it's thin enough to pipe on and it spreads out a bit, so you don't have to both outline and fill.
Sorry I haven't been able to keep up with the comments this week; I promise to catch up with everyone soon. It's back to the kitchen for me, so the
harassing gentle reminder phone calls will stop, yes I'm fully aware that so and so got cookies already and you will get some soon - I promise.
Ho, Ho, Ho....