A Balanced Diet is a Cookie in Each Hand

In these lazy days after Christmas, what’s a blogger to blog about? The fact that we still haven’t made our annual gingerbread house out of graham crackers yet? (As part of the Fitzpatrick family tradition, I buy candy to decorate the house and more candy to eat while we decorate. This is a “must-do” holiday activity, even if it has to be put off until early March.) The pathetic Christmas lights that I painstakingly put out, stabbing myself with a Robellini Palm dagger in my middle finger knuckle that still hurts three weeks later? The Christmas Eve mass, where the babies were so cute in their little dress clothes that my husband was urging me to take one home? (And he’s usually the only stumbling block in my plan to kidnap a cute baby and keep it for my own holiday joy.)

Let’s talk about the Christmas cookies. I love to bake them and I really love to eat them. This year, instead of being all Christmasy and making a dozen different kinds of cookies, I concentrated on two of our favorite cookies and put all of my cookie-making efforts into them: Raspberry Squares and Peanut Blossoms.

Raspberry Squares have a frosting that is so sugary that if you’re on your third or fourth square, you’ll get that wave of sickening-sweetliness where the corners of your mouth involuntarily turn up when you bite into it. Life shouldn’t be that good. When something tastes so delicious that you make a facial expression, you can figure you haven’t done anything to deserve it. The recipe makes an entire cookie sheet full of cookies. I keep it in the garage refrigerator, because I know from past experience that if that tray is within the living space of where I live, I won’t be able to stop myself from eating all of them. That garage door is the only thing between me and Type 2 diabetes.

The Peanut Blossoms totally backfired on me. Each plump little cookie was perfect in every way. There were none with big cracks or crevasses, no burned bottoms, no mistakes that I could eat before the oven cooled. I was forced to eat the peanut blossoms at a normal pace. One bonus, though: I was unwrapping the Hershey kisses while watching The Office and got so wrapped up in the antics of Dwight and Angela, that I unwrapped about 20 more kisses than I needed. After the cookies were gone, I had some fun eating all the extra chocolate kisses. Nothing makes you feel more like a rich lady than eating chocolate that’s already been unwrapped.

Through my life, my mom always made Seven-Layer Cookies and five or six other kinds. Someone Italian would always give us some pizzelles. Somebody Croatian would make us those little folded up pastries with apricot filling. When I lived in D.C., my next-door-neighbor, who was from Barbados, made me a fruit cake that had so much booze in it that I got a buzz right at my kitchen table at 10 in the morning. I’ve never made fun of fruit cake since then. I’m a dessert whore and will take anything of any ethnic variety that you give me.

Now that Christmas is officially over, the cookie season is done for me. I ate the last two raspberry squares this morning, cried a little bit, and started to eye that candy waiting for the construction of the gingerbread house.

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