December 15, 2013

A Control Freak's Holiday Baking Woes

The problem with being a control freak is that you want to control everything. Even when you think you don't, and you try to do something that will allow others to provide input, you become all angst-y because you quickly realize you aren't in control.

Last year we instituted an annual family holiday fun day. The goal was to have a lazy day when we'd do wintery, holiday things, like make cookies, watch holiday movies, craft garland, and make snowman pizzas. I decided last year that it would be fun for everyone in the house to pick a cookie that we'd bake.

Well, last year it ended up working. I approved of everyone's choices.

This year, I didn't like what Lola and Zach picked.

In my head, after everyone had picked their special cookie, we'd have a fabulous assortment of holiday treats. It'd be perfect. In my head, I had already picked out what I had hoped they would pick out.

Guess what? They didn't pick out what I had hoped they would pick out.

Lola really can't pick out a special cookie yet. I chose for her. But I knew hers had to be chocolate chip. because she loves chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookies.

Zach chose Hello Dolly Bars, a super sweet, kitchen sink type bar. Are they good? Sure.

But are they holiday-y? No. And that ended up being what I was bummed about. We had 2 of 3 cookies that just didn't feel very festive. And we were clearly over-indexing on chocolate chips. Un-festive and lacking variety. Tragic.

So, for a few days, I tried to figure out whether I was going to ask Zach to pick something else. I wanted to. I really did. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it. After all, the goal was for everyone to get to pick out a cookie that they wanted.

So, I stuck with everyone's requests. I made their cookies yesterday during our annual fun day. They (and I) happily ate them.

Today, I finally got around to mine (because making 3 types of cookies and snowman pizza and watching holiday movies and going out to brunch is too much to do in one day when you have a toddler).

And I'm happy to report that I think MINE are holiday-ish. A sugar cookie studded with anise seeds and topped with a smear of sugary frosting. In shapes, no less. Totally delicious, too.

I feel like these cookies gave me back my holiday spirit (that I temporarily lost while fretting over our apparently-very-important-to-me holiday cookie assortment).

Awareness is the first step, right? Next year I'll do better. I have a whole year to prepare myself mentally for next  year's assortment. And a whole year to control every single other meal we eat. :)

Happy holidays!


Aunt Clara's Anise Seed Cookies (Recipe from Food 52, found here.)

(Note: I took a shortcut and didn't let my frosting butter come to room temp. I rushed the process and ended up having issues. As written, my frosting appeared to be too dry. But then I added too much milk to try to fix it and ended up adding another half stick of butter and a lot more powdered sugar. So, I can't vouch for the frosting. But if you know how to make a simple frosting, you'll figure it out as you go.)