Elmer’s Glue Cookies (What NOT to Bake for the Holidays)

This weekend, my little neck of the woods was hit with a gorgeous snowfall – about eight inches worth.

Staying cozy inside for the most part as the temperatures dropped today, I decided to bake some cookies. (My batch from Jenni’s Cookies was gone so what is a girl to do?)

I was deciding between spritz and cut-out sugar cookies. I ended up going with the sugar cookies because I had yet to use my cookie cutters that I’d received for Christmas last year. I researched a recipe on some reputable food blogs and went with an easy recipe for Buttermilk Sugar Cookies. (Side note: this recipe had no reviews/ratings. I learned my lesson!) I actually had buttermilk in the fridge so I thought, “It’s meant to be!” Plus, buttermilk usually adds that je ne sais quoi to cooking and baking.

I really don’t know how these things could have turned out so badly. As you can see from the photos below, they came together nicely, rolled out fine, the shapes were oh-so-cute, and they even smelled good whilst baking.

And yet…

It’s almost as if my subconscious needed to prove my point that “not anybody can bake a sugar cookie and frost it.”

The results were SO BLAH! Essentially, I had just wasted a number of ingredients from my pantry – namely the flour – which is now completely gone. One of my favorite things in the world is taking a warm cookie from the cookie tray or cooling rack and tasting it right away, with its warmth hitting my tummy and giving me a hug on the inside.

So when I bit into the first cookie, I thought, “Oh, these definitely need icing.” There simply wasn’t enough sugar to make these taste good and the vanilla I’d added to the batch was non-existent. Come to think of it, this recipe was one of the only ones that didn’t call for almond or lemon extract (some of the distinct tastes of Christmas in cookies). But I had taken a leap of faith. Bad move on my part.

I checked the icing recipe, which is literally powdered sugar and milk (and food coloring, which I did not have), stirred it up, stared at it quizzically, then drizzled it over the finished cookies.

To say the finished product was underwhelming is an outrageous understatement. I grimaced.

Then I frosted a fresh cookie and handed it to my friend who is staying the weekend with us. He ate it just fine and actually thought it tasted quite good. Or so he said.

I returned to the kitchen to try another one. Nada. I went to the last batch and pulled an unfrosted one from the tray. If I had been 9, I would have spit it out.

I became quite agitated and called out to my friend, “These look and taste like Elmer’s Glue cookies!” He laughed. But it is all too true.

This, friends, is NOT the way to make sugar cookies with “icing” that is made from powdered sugar, milk, and nothing else. Make sure your cookies have ratings and reviews. Question any lack of extract. If it’s too easy, be suspicious. Anything worth doing is going to take some time.

Sigh. At least they looked pretty. And they will look lovely sitting in my trash can.

Epilogue: my dear, sweet man came home, went to the kitchen, tried a frosted cookie and called out, “Tastes like Christmas!” I still think they suck.

Jenni’s Cookies – A Review

That empty bag up there represents all that is left of the cookies I ordered just a mere few days ago. My gosh, they were good. They make people say things like, “My gosh.”

Let me start over.

When I got my box of Jenni’s Cookies in the mail, you’d think it was already Christmas morning. I elected to receive them at work so they wouldn’t sit on my cold porch all day. Also, I really wanted to try one right away.

Get to know and love one Ms. Jenni of Jenni’s Cookies. The sister of a good friend of mine, she transitioned from hobby cookie-maker and decorator into her own full-time business this year. And may I say, she has found her calling.

Since I had it on good word that the cookies taste as incredible as they are adorable, I bided my time and placed an order. I was thrilled to be able to order my box right at the height of the holiday season, as well. Her holiday shapes are absolutely adorable and scream, “Eat me!”  But in a good way.

You might be thinking, can’t anybody frost and decorate a sugar cookie?

NOPE. I could never, and I mean never, do something this painstaking for a living. I just plain don’t have the decorating skills or the patience. Thus, I am grateful for people like Jenni.

Jenni rolls out each batch with loving care from a family recipe and takes great care to personalize your order. (If you haven’t clicked on the link to see the staggering array of things she is capable of, here it is one more time: www.jenniscookies.com.)

She will make just about anything for anyone, whether it is a corporate marketing event or one big party, but rest assured she owns or will possess the perfect cookie cutter shape, rendering the final product into a miniature work of art.

I chose the holiday cookies because this is my favorite time of year and, let’s face it, it’s cookie eatin’ season, but I know I will go back to her the next time I want to impress some folks with the perfect accompaniment for the occasion.

The cookies:

I had to have mine shipped to me since I no longer reside in the greater city of New York. They arrive in a very carefully and tightly packed box to prevent damage to your precious treats within. It was comforting to see the extra care she takes for those batches she sends out. On top of that, each cookie is placed in its own protective bag with a ribbon for easy distribution.

The cookies have a slightly crisp but chewy texture; this seems like an oxymoron but you’ll just have to try one to see for yourself. One can taste the vanilla (and the TLC!) in every bite. Because they are not overly sweet, the icing on top adds just the right amount of extra sweetness. No artificial flavors here, folks.

In summation: After taking yourself to the website, customizing and placing your order, and receiving your delicious bundles of joy, get yourself a tall, icy glass of milk and give your tastebuds the delight that they have been waiting for, ever since your eyes told your brain that you must try these handmade confections. I promise they are worth every penny and the wait, if there is one. (Even having placed an out of state order, they arrived very quickly for her having made me a customized, fresh batch.)

And then also feast your eyes on me and my dude savoring (and eventually devouring) these delectable things. Then get you some.

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