Every year, I am invited to a cookie exchange. Now, let’s get one thing perfectly clear: I am a full-time working mother of two and a wife to a very busy man; therefore, I make nothing from scratch! So, every year I am invited to this cookie exchange that has about 10 pages worth of rules. SERIOUSLY? One of the rules: All of your SIX dozen cookies must be made from scratch. I went one year, and as you can probably guess, my cookies were a disaster.
First of all, I am in no way the cookie master my late grandmother used to be. She could whip up a batch of Sand Tart Cookies without even looking at the recipe card. She made about a dozen different cookies this way. She was also a stay-at-home mother to six children. I, on the other hand, love Pillsbury and any other company that makes pre-ready dough!! Of course that was not allowed for the cookie exchange–page 3 of the rules, I think.
Anyway, I went online and printed the first recipe I found. I waited until the night before to start; I had to–my life was way too busy and crazy. I was up all night! Homemade dough must be made and then refrigerated–for hours!!! So, needless to say, my cookie exchange experience, or trauma, was a mess. I did make the cookies, but I only ended up with four dozen. I had to work the next day, so I decided I was only going to the party with what I had.
That night, I was sadly shown up by everyone else. First of all, we had to go around and explain where we had found the recipe and what meaning it had to us. EVERYONE had a story behind their cookie recipe, except, of course, for me. Now, were they all telling the truth? None of us will ever know. Anyway, after the explanations, which mine–although I told the truth–was pathetic, we traveled around the room to fill our containers with everyone’s cookies. The one woman did admit she bought her cookies from a friend, but they were homemade. So, I guess they qualified. One woman did feel the need to point out that I did not make enough cookies. She did not know whose they were–so she said–but when she pointed, everyone figured it out.
After that experience, I have never gone to another cookie exchange. You know what I do? I buy the colored Crayola cookie dough from every kid who brings me a fundraiser paper, and I buy as much pre-made dough as I can. I also purchase huge amounts of sprinkles, colored sugars, and colored icings. My girls and I have tons of fun, and I do not experience as much stress as I did the time I agreed to make homemade cookies for that exchange. Sure, you come home with dozens of different flavored cookies with various stories; however, my kids take one bite of those crazy-flavored cookies and wrinkle their noses. So, I am fine with my tradition. It may not be “real” to some, but it works for me! That’s all that matters.