And we’re prepared. We already have our tree and lights all up and sparkling, and this weekend, I made the first Christmas cookies of the season, roasted a chicken, listened to the same 8 to 10 Christmas songs on Pandora Radio, sung by different artists (namely, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside!” I’ve heard about 11 different versions so far). This week I’ve been speaking soft words to coax my reluctant cold husband to go on a walk with me during the night to see the pretty lights on all the houses.Most towns have that one street that’s known for it’s extravagant Christmas lights, and though they are nothing like this, we found our town’s most-lighted lane last Christmas, Fulton Street, on one of the nights I successfully convinced Jon to come on a night walk with me. We were dazzled by the combo of mansion and expensive Christmas decorations: very much the personality of the town we live in. But what I loved about this Christmas light street was that none of it was really coordinated. Everyone had something different. Some of the displays were very traditional or themed, like the Nutcracker house with plywood painted figurines in the lawns and teddy bears in the window. Others included Spiderman and Batman.
An adorable toddler walking with her parents the night we visited Fulton Lane, was enraptured by someone’s lawn lights that were actually giant colorful spheres, and insisted on touching every decoration she could, reaching on tiptoes to get to the lights on top of a bush just out of her reach.
At work, we’re doing a “Cookie Advent.” Each person participating brings in a plate of cookies for one day. We have enough people signed-up that we get to have two different types every day until Christmas! I put my name down on the list and so I’ve been testing recipes for the Advent and also trying to figure out what I’m going to make in bulk this season for friends, family & coworkers – and that’s how these cranberry almond slice-and-bake cookies were born.
Before I even knew homemade cookies existed, pre-packaged slice-and-bake cookies were all we ever had growing up. Something about cutting out the cookies from the dough log made it feel personalized and homemade. And these cookies are so easy and can look really professional, if you cut them evenly and do the extra work to form a good cylindrical dough log. This is a really easy cookie dough base that was inspired in part by this recipe, this one, and this one. It’s also a great idea to play with the mix-ins. Some ideas I brainstormed were orange zest (1 full orange’s zest) and rosemary, raspberry and white chocolate, even dark chocolate and candy cane pieces!