This post includes six coloring pages to add to your coloring book/ recipe book journal. You can print those off by going to the end of the article and clicking on the link! Happy Coloring!
Recently, my roommate, Colby was on a Christmas cookie kick. His goal was to make copious amounts of gluten free peppermint cookies to give as gifts to family and friends. Think Christmas cookie exchange party meets the cookie monster, and you get the idea of what our kitchen was like for some days.
(And happily I was able to be the cookie monster at least some of the time, though I was kind of useless in the baking department because I had to work on my final projects for grad school..)
Anyway, as Christmas baking recipes go, this one tasted excellent. This is in part due to having the right cookie recipe and in part due to the right ingredients. Some of said ingredients included crushed peppermint candy. As in at one time, those crushed candy bits lived their previous lives as candy canes hanging on a tree, located somewhere near Santa’s milk near the fireplace hearth and the Christmas coloring pages you’re getting for your favorite grown-up girl, Aunt Betty. (Or whomever…)
Having been broken, these candy canes got a new life as the powdery candy cane bits that are now in our favorite Christmas baking recipes.
The peppermint candy bits came from Winco in the bulk section not from some leftover crushed up candy canes, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that cookies filled with Christmas candy still make the best holiday exchange cookies. EVER.
Yes. Colby did make cookies for a cookie exchange/ gift exchange of sorts. And yes, I was struggling through the last week of grad school for the semester, but wouldn’t you rather have a story about broken candy canes getting a second chance at life as the peppermint bits in your cookies?
If so, you now know why you read the blog of this SciFi dystopian writer who’s also a foodie. Everything becomes raw material for a book. In other words, simple Christmas candy canes become a plot twist as well as lunch…
If you have to make Christmas cookies for your own holiday cookie exchange, I highly recommend choosing recipes that involved putting candy into cookies.
Check out a variation of Colby’s cookies in the video below.
Peppermint Cookies (Non-Gluten Free)
• 1 cup butter, softened • 1 cup sugar • 2 eggs • 1 tsp vanilla • 3-1/4 cups AP flour • 1/2 tsp each of baking soda, baking powder and salt • Jolly Ranchers • Icing
Chill cookies in freezer for 10 minutes before baking to prevent too much spreading.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. • Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl, except the sugar. • Whisk the ingredients until they’re mixed thoroughly. Put the bowl aside. • Beat the softened butter until it is fluffy. • Add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. • Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. • Mix the sugars and the butter together. • Add the egg. • Pour in the vanilla extract - 1 tsp. • Mix it until all the ingredients are mixed well together. • Add in the dry ingredients. Mix well. • Pour in the white chocolate chips. • Add in the crushed candy canes. • Mix all the ingredients together with a spatula. • Add parchment paper to a cookie sheet. • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet. • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. • Let them cool on a cooling rack.
This really is the way I work as a writer. Some version of my life ends up in my books on some level. Sometimes it’s a bit of whimsy as with the Alice-in-Wonderland books. Other times, it’s more Hunger Games-ish dystopian. And sometimes my reality becomes a bit of bittersweet nostalgia for some character to work out as I work out my own sadness and life transitions.
Don’t believe me? That Christmas cookie exchange recipes can spark ideas for new stories. They do.
But this time of year, when I make Christmas cookies - if I make Christmas cookies - chances are good that I’ll do it while I listen to Dean Martin Christmas carols and dream of Lifesaver Candy Books. For me, cookies, Lifesaver Candy Books, and music provide just the fuel I need to take a trip down the yellow brick road of nostalgia.
When I was a little girl, there were a few things I could count on each Christmas no matter how broke my parents were. I always got some sort of art supplies - even if they were just some Christmas activity sheets and coloring pages. And I always got a book of Lifesavers in my stocking.
In the latter case, I was inclined to think that everyone in the world got Lifesaver books in their Christmas stockings. (This was before I realized that not all families were like mine, and in all fairness, no two were exactly alike.) But in my mind, all children woke up to a book of Lifesavers in their Christmas socks on that fateful morn.
When I was a kid, I just ate the candy straight out of the wrapper. I can still remember the sound of them clackity clacking on my teeth and the way sweet and sour taste of the cherry ones made my lips pucker.
Down Memory Lane With a Basket of Holiday Cookies in Hand…
Of course, the Lifesaver Candy Books disappeared from my stockings the year my father died. It’s funny what you miss when someone’s gone. Yes, of course, I miss him. I miss him saying to me every time I left to go home, “I’ll see you another day, Buff.” I miss having coffee with him in his backyard in Weiser. (Yes, that’s why those details ended up in my book "The Girl Who Fell Into the Sky." I miss walking around town after dinner and stopping for some ice cream afterwards.
And I miss those Lifesaver Candy Books. I can buy them, of course, but it isn’t the same as finding them in my stockings every Christmas morning.
It’s funny how we writers make up our own versions of classic Christmas stories. Or even what inspires those stories in the first place.
In my case, the true-life story morphs from what actually happened to something that could happen given all the right circumstances. That’s the essence of the best fiction. Write what you know, only add a bit more than what you know.
I suppose every writer does that. That’s actually why I’m bringing this up in a blog post about my roommate’s cookie-making adventures and the trip down memory lane that it sent me on.
You see, like the crushed candy canes in Colby’s Christmas cookies, it turns out that Lifesavers are nifty things to have if you want to make stained glass cookies for the holidays. They, too, require crushed candy. As Colby forged on with his might cookie quest, I started looking up cookie recipes just because. That’s when I stumbled upon stained glass cookies. There really is such a thing. And crushed hard candy does indeed make up the glass portion of the stained glass. (The cookie part is basically a recipe for shortbread cookies or Christmas biscuits.)
Where This Writer Gets Her Ideas - From Her Recipe Box
If I were to write a story about it - you know, incorporate the Lifesaver Candy Books into a book sometime in the future - I’d have my character use up the leftover Lifesavers from the last book that her dad gave to her on his last Christmas.
(And he did indeed give me a Lifesaver Candy Book on his last Christmas a couple of weeks before he died even though I was 35 at the time and much too old for Lifesavers…)
Yep. If I were to make my Christmas cookie exchange story worth remembering, I’d make the character of this future novel crush up the last of the candy from the Lifesavers Candy Book and make them into stained glass cookies that she could give to friends and family. Stained glass always symbolizes hope to me. And beauty. And by taking something that is sort of sad and making it beautiful, you make a new classic Christmas story. One filled with its own nostalgia and healing.
Even now, I can imagine my character’s Lifesavers crushed up and morphed into a cookie window, hanging as a decoration on a tree somewhere. The stained glass candy reflects the Christmas lights on the tree.
Using those old Lifesavers candies would be a way that the character in my book shares the love and hope of the holiday season, all while making the story (and the cookies) her own.
Holiday Cookies are the Best Comfort Food
Because that’s really what happens when you lose someone. You find ways to take memories that are kind of painful and make them into something beautiful.
That’s really the only way to do it. Mix your old memories in with the new ones.
Kind of like a plate of cookies made for a cookie exchange. Each person in our lives contributes a unique flavor to our lives. Kind of like stained glass cookies and peppermint cookies.
As you go through your Christmas baking recipes and plan out your own Christmas activities, make sure that you remember that anything sad can ultimately be turned into a thing of beauty with just a little imagination and a bit of cookie dough for holiday cookies. And of course, a little help from a baking friend.
To learn how to make stained glass cookies, watch the video below.
Stained Glass Cookies With Lifesavers
• Preheat oven to 375. • Cream the butter and sugar together. • Add in the eggs and the vanilla. • Gradually add in the flour. • Roll out the resulting dough so that you can cut it with cookie cutters. • Choose cookie cutters that are Christmas-shaped. • Cut out cookies, and then cut out a space in the center. • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. • Put the cookies on a baking sheet. • Add the crushed Lifesavers or the Jolly Ranchers to the center of the cookies. • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. • Allow them to cool before taking them from the cookie sheet. • Decorate with frosting.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. • Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl, except the sugar. • Whisk the ingredients until they’re mixed thoroughly. • Put the bowl aside. • Put the bowl aside. • Beat the softened butter until is fluffy. • Add 1/4 cp of granulated sugar. • Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. • Mix the sugars and the butter together. • Add the egg. • Pour in the vanilla extract - 1 tsp. • Mix it until all the ingredients are mixed well together. • Add in th dry ingredients. Mix well. • Pour in the white chocolate chips. • Add in the crushed candy canes. • Mix all the ingredients together with a spatula. • Add parchment paper to a cookie sheet. • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet. • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. • Let them cool on a cooling rack.
• Use a mixer to beat the softened cream cheese and butter together in a large bowl. • Turn the mixer to a low speed and sprinkle in the powdered sugar, adding it to the mixture a bit at a time until it's completely integrated. Beat the cream cheese icing recipe together until it becomes creamy and smooth. • Add in the vanilla and beat it until it gets integrated into the recipe as well.
Printable Alice-in-Wonderland Recipe Book Coloring Pages
Be sure to print off the free coloring pages for Christmas that accompany these two recipes. You can put these free printable Christmas coloring pages into a three-ring binder to keep for another day. They also have the printed versions of the cookie recipes for your holiday cookie exchange.