Growing up, when it was time to make cookies for the holidays, I’d always start with a lot of excitement and gumption. I’d tie on my apron, stand on the slightly off-balance black and yellow stool my mom had so I could reach the counter, and then I’d get to work. About five minutes into the whole measuring and mixing ordeal, I’d get ridiculously bored. I’d throw my apron off in a fit of passion, and I’d leave the kitchen for my bedroom where I’d proceed to take a glorious nap. Then, I’d wake up hours later and eat the fruits of my mom and brother’s labor. I wish I could say I was exaggerating, but I’m not. Baking cookies always sounded so great, but then there was just too much involved. That, combined with the nice warm oven on, always made me sleepy.
But now that I have kids of my own, I desperately want that special time together. It’s ironic that I actually like being in the kitchen, and I don’t even mind baking anymore. The problem is that now with two kids under 3 years old, I don’t have time for all the precision that has to go into baking. Not only that, but I’m not a patient person, so my patience wears off rather quickly when I’m trying to do something Pinteresty (like a happy Kodak moment) with the kids in the kitchen.
Easy Holiday Cookies = A Happy Mama & Kid
What’s my point to all of this? Betty Crocker. That woman was a genius, and her tag line should be: Helping moms look good for more than 90 years. I was shopping the aisles of Publix when Julia exclaimed very matter of factly, “Mama I sure needs some cookies.” Right, I thought, like we really have time to whip up a batch of cookies. And then Betty came to my rescue with her cookie mixes in a pouch.
The only mixing involves egg, butter, and water, and we can do it all in one bowl. I was sold. Betty Crocker, my friends, is the answer for how to make easy holiday cookies for the busy family. More importantly, it made my toddler happy.
Armed with my new bag of sugar cookie mix, I found a recipe for giant Christmas tree cookie online, and figured it wouldn’t be too hard to make. Besides, Julia’s been obsessed with decorating Christmas trees this year, so I crossed my fingers this cookie would entertain her for more than 2.5 seconds. I was right. Making it was a cinch, and the hardest part was having to hear her say, “Can I decorate my tree yet?” repeatedly during the entire 30 minutes that it had to cool before decorating. But once it cooled, and once I put the icing on, she had a blast.
Side note: if you’re a more patient mom than I am, by all means: let your kid put the icing on. Mine would’ve gotten it everywhere, so while she was going potty I very quickly iced the tree. By the time she got back from the bathroom she was extremely impressed that the tree wasn’t naked anymore. “It was holiday magic,” I told her. See, I told you, Betty Crocker: Helping moms look good for more than 90 years!
Decorating the tree was actually pretty fun. Except for putting on a few mini marshmallows, she did it all herself. I cringed a little inside and it took every ounce of will power to not take the “ornaments” off of the tree trunk, but other than that, it went really well, and I was impressed with how hard she tried to decorate her tree!
Everyone Loves Cookies!
When I was at Publix I also picked up a bag of Betty’s Peanut Butter Cookie mix. (By the way, I can totally call her Betty, right? I feel like we’re on a first-name basis by now), and a pack of Ziploc containers. My husband loves “sombrero” cookies (you may call them Peanut Butter Blossoms, but they do actually kinda look like a sombrero!), so one day before nap time we made them for him.
Let me give you a little tip: if you’re going to make peanut butter cookies, buy the pre-mixed bag, because then you don’t have to bother with the messy and sticky peanut butter! Betty was on point for this mix. There was a little more measuring (had to add water and oil), but that was a small price to pay compared to the potential mess sans Betty.
Julia also had a blast placing the kisses into the cookies once they came out of the oven. I just had to watch her like a hawk to make sure she kept her little hands off the bar pan.
A Fun Craft to Spread Holiday Joy
I promised Julia that after nap time she could decorate the Ziploc container, and then we would box them up and take them over to his work as a surprise. She’s at the age where she’s fighting her nap, but still desperately needs them, so I always have to come up with some “after nap time” incentive. This particular one worked like a charm.
The best part of the whole cookie making experience was watching her deliver the container of goodies to her Papa at work. That, my friends, is what the holiday season is all about—seeing other people, especially your kids, spreading joy.
I know it’s a small token, but I’d like to spread a little joy your way this season. I’m giving one of you $15 in paypal cash! You can do with it what you’d like, obviously, but consider spending it on some Betty Crocker cookie mix and passing those easy holiday cookies on to someone who could use a little Christmas cheer.
Not in the mood to win some money? No worries, but let me leave you with some coupons and recipes in case you want to pick up some cookie mix or Ziplock containers!