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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cookies. More Cookies. Not Enough TREE.

So on Sunday, we found this year's
fresh tree at a local garden center.
It is smaller than we usually get, but then . . . 
does size really matter?
After convincing a broken tree stand to do its job just one more season, 
and guy wiring the tree to the ceiling just to make sure
it won't go all wibbly-wobbly on us, (as we are scarred veterans
of more than several tree-keeling-over disasters) --
Howard put on the lights . . .
 . . . and then put on the lights.  
 Burdened with a head cold and just a little smidgey whiff of Grinchiness, barely noticeable,
Howard didn't keep track of how many lights are on this year's tree.
There are a lot.  Thank you, my dear.

Now you'd think I'd have this Tannenbaum all decorated by now,
(true confession)

Instead, I have lots of these:
 Oatmeal cookies with dried cranberries inside, and white chocolate on top -- because we forgot,
my friend Emily and I, to put the white chocolate chips into the batter.
 My Mom's Romance Cookie bars -- walnuts, shortbread crust, meringue, coconut.
It's surprising I still make these, as I can clearly conjure up that teenage "oh no I'm going to die" feeling
when Mom would sidle up to my Beau du jour at our family Christmas party, and with a
meaningful, exaggerated wink and a Groucho Marx eyebrow wiggle, offer him "Romance Cookies."
To any of my siblings reading this, you know what I mean.  :-)
 Howard's favorite -- Vermont Crackles. 
A long lost recipe, now found.
 The Oatmeal Cookies, getting all glamorous for their closeups.
 People will totally believe that the white chocolate is there on purpose, right?
 Mint meringues.  A crispy shell on the outside, a gooey chewy stick-to-your-teeth delight on the inside.
 Don't you think those meringues need a drizzle of dark chocolate on them?  They look so pink and naked.
And, finally, lemon bars.
Baked by someone (yes, I'm looking at myself) who forgot that the confectioners' sugar needs to
be sifted onto these cookies when they are HOT, so it sticks.  Clearly, it ain't sticking.
Don't sneeze nearby; the powdered sugar cloud will be wicked.
So today,
Alida and Josh get in from California, a late afternoon arrival at the magically delicious Newark Airport.
For these California dwellers I have put flannel sheets on the guest room bed.
Which is cheaper than turning up the thermostat.

And now I'm going to decorate the tree in the sunroom,
and keep repeating, "It's a little tree, it's not so big, it's really small,
it's not even quite 9-feet tall, it's actually rather dainty, I can do this,
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . . . "

If you don't hear from me for awhile, check under the Rubbermaid bins of Christmas tree ornaments.

Random moment of awful truth!
Can you bake in the midst of creative chaos?
 Believe it or not, this isn't as bad or disorganized as it looks.
It's worse.  (Ba-dum-bum.) 
 Two bakers, one kitchen.  There's gonna be a mess, y'know?

Poor sad Dion.  So many cookies, just out of reach.

 Have a lovely Wednesday!  -- Cass


  1. We have a tree, and it's decorated, but there is nary a cookie in the house. I have to go to a group home party tonight and I'm BUYING cookies - the shame!

  2. I love your real tree, I love your colored lights. I was new to blogging last Christmas and remember your tree in that sun room. I am glad I am getting to see it come to life again. I 'll be back to see it finished. Richard from My Old Historic House.

  3. Well, first off I would have given Dion one cookie. But then, I am a push-over. Your cookies look amazing and I love the photo of them in the cookie jar. We have a smaller tree this year, too and I love it. Last year 10 ft, this year 4 feet but on a table. Have a great week, Cass. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x4

  4. Those meringues look heavenly. I love them because you can fool yourself into thinking they are low cal, because they are so light and fluffy looking. I like the natural shape of your tree. So many of the ones around here look like they were put in a pencil sharpener and just look too perfect. Have fun decorating!

  5. When I kitchen is as yours ahahahahahah....hugs my dear, Flavia

  6. Are the red and green ones the crackles? They look the best to me and I always love colored cookies!!

  7. Cass, I try to be good....but I am a cookieholic.Do you know where I can sign up for treatment...or do you have any extra cookies:):)Smiles, Susie
    p.s. good job howard.

  8. You remind me that I haven't made cookies yet. And did the meringues get dresses? You left us hanging on that one. Nice to see a kitchen being used and not just being a glamor shot! I see we get the same paper towel! Have fun with your kids!

  9. Are you going to share the Vermont Crackles receipe? They look like they could be my favorite also.

  10. It looks like the mess at least had the decency to stop at the edge of your island.

    Recipes, please. I have been searching for a decent oatmeal cookie recipe, and the others sound totally heavenly.

    The Romance Cookies remind me of cookie bars that I used to make ... shortbread crust, chocolate chips, walnuts, coconut, and brown sugar meringue on top.

    Now you have me all antsy to make cookies. My jeans are already a little too snug for my liking, and now I want COOKIES ... it's all your fault.

  11. Cass- Listen you brat~ You MUST share that Vermont Crackles recipe!!! Everything is looking very good. Doesn't matter whether the white chocolate chips are inside or out~ No one will care (or notice!;>)

    I have not had one moment of free time to bake with baby and bigboy and Mama here. We are headed South to her home tomorrow. Eat a couple cookies for me, will ya? xo Diana

  12. Howard did a good job with those lights. One of our trees came crashing down one year, but that was because our daughter had decided to climb it.
    Dion has the best facial expressions!

  13. Cass~
    may I have some of your cookies?
    when you come to visit, the coffee will be ready..
    and the kitchen is really neat and tidy for a change..
    I'm just struggling with CHAOS..
    in the rest of the house!
    and i need a break!!!
    warmest hugs..
    ps.. the porch light will be on..
    just give me a jingle!

  14. Cass,
    The cookies look delicious. And the white chocolate on top is a great save!
    Of course the meringues would be great with dark chocolate drizzled on...what wouldn't?
    I am going to google Vermont Crackles. Or maybe you'll post the recipe sometime.
    Off to Google!

  15. OK - - - so that tree is positively GORGEOUS just sitting there with lights and otherwise nekked!!!!!

  16. You have been busy and your cookies look delicious. Would you share the recipe for Vermont Cookies? They look interesting and I like the mint meringues but then I'm a BIG fan of meringues!

    I like your tree -- we're getting a real one this year -- I hope Ollie doesn't mistake it for a foundation planting!

  17. I as born and grew up in Vermont, but have never heard of Vermont Crackles!

  18. Can't you drop one Mom..come on!
    Looks like a beautiful tree, we got ours home and up and realized it was smaller one this year too.
    Those cookies all look so wonderful

  19. I had a blast baking with you yesterday! So nice of you to share the blame, but they should know the truth. I forgot to put the chips in the batter among other mishaps. I they should be called "OOPS cookies" from now on. ;)

  20. All these cookies look so yummy!! Want to try the mint meringues! And yes I think they need dark chocolate on them, but then again, doesn't everything need chocolate??

  21. Love the countertop shot! I knew it has to look like that with all those cookies.

  22. What delicious looking cookies. Especially the Vermont Crackles. Your tree looks plenty big enough to me. A beautiful tree in a beautiful home. By the way, the dog in your kitchen- is he a King Charles Spaniel?


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