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Making Christmas Cookies for the First Time – Lessons on Failure

Making Christmas Cookies for the First Time – Lessons on Failure

I’ve always wanted to make Christmas cookies. You know, those sugar cookies, skillfully and beautifully decorated with icing. I thought they were just so pretty, and would be so much fun to make! It really appealed to the artist in me. 😀

Photos from Unsplash and Pexels. (These were not made by me!!)

I really wanted the experience of making them, however, we don’t really use almost any sugar in our baking, ands as we’ve been trying really hard not to get sick, we weren’t going to use any. Plus, food dye is also not healthy, and I don’t remember ever even having it in our house. So, there were several obstacles I would face trying to make these.

  1. No Sugar
  2. No Food Coloring
  3. No cookie cutters
  4. No pipping bags or tips
  5. Absolutely no experience making them

Did that stop me? Um, no way. 😂

I watched a bunch of cookie decorating videos, and got really inspired. It was so satisfying watching the icing glide from the piping bag, and land smoothly onto the cookie… The colors were so vibrant and pretty, and the designs were Christmas-y and fun, and AHHHH…..!!!!!! 😍 (And I being dramatic?? Naw.) I really wanted to do this.

So I asked mom if I could try, and she said yes, though she seemed a bit skeptical. XD (WHY?!) lol. Well, I made excitedly plans… I would use some healthy “sugar” that we had, and make food colorings out of stuff we had.

Last night I made the cookie dough so I wouldn’t have as much to do today. This morning I rolled it out, cut it, and baked it. My solution for no cookie cutters, was that I printed out some outlines from the computer, cut them out, and then just laid them on the rolled out dough, and traced around them with a knife. It worked great, but was super time consuming! The only problom I had with the cookie dough, was that it broke very easily, but it was ok.

The actual cookie turned out great. I don’t think I would have asked for them to be any better! This success encouraged me, and I was more enthusiastic then ever.

After that, I attempted to make “royal icing”. It didn’t turn out quite so snazzy… Although I was using powdered “sugar”, it turned out quite granul-y, and bumpy. Not the right consistancy, and not at all smooth and silky! But I didn’t let that discourage me – no sirree! (Well, not too much. Ok, maybe a bit.) XD

I went on to prepare my coloring substitutions. I used beet powder for pink, turmeric for yellow, and chlorophyll (not to be confused with chloroform) for green.

When I mixed them up, pink and yellow worked great, but green…? Turned about terrible. Thankfully, I started mixing the colors in small batches to make sure it would actually work, so I didn’t waste too much when I threw it in the trash can in disgust. XD

So I now had three colors – pink, yellow and white. I was quite sad with the loss of the green. I really wanted that for the trees! Oh well, I would just have to be satisfied with oddly colored Christmas trees.

I finally was able to start the part I was by far most looking forward too – icing them! I use zip lock baggies instead of piping bags, and cut holes in the corners.

Well, let’s just say it didn’t turn out to be quite as amazing as anticipated. It was still fun, but they were definitely not turning out how I wanted them too. They were thick and gloppy and bubbly and gooky and claggy (etc, etc, etc!). And they refused to stick to the cookie without a fight!!!

By the time I was part way though with the decorating, I was feeling more discouraged. This was totally not what I had envisioned. In fact, it looked like a total mess! I made myself use the rest of the “icing”, so I wouldn’t waste it. I kind of had fun, but it was also quite stressful!

When I was done, I had what I decided were a pretty sorry bunch of cookies in front of me. Not pretty, not Christmas-y…. On top of that, I didn’t think they tasted all that great. I definitely felt like I had totally failed.

After leaving them for a while, they started to grow on me – a bit. A very small tad. Well, a tiny dab. 😉

We ate them. Some of the kids liked them, and some of them thought they were too sweet, which I agree with. One or two cookie was ok, but any more is too much! I liked the ones that didn’t have a lot of icing, like this snowflake.

My favorites were the stars, snowflakes and gingerbread men. 🙂 So yeah, it wasn’t a total failure.

So anyway, there are many lessons to be learned though this tragic experience. (Ok, ok, I’ll stop being dramatic.) There’s actually only a couple of lessons I learned, at least, that I’m thinking of.

  1. Failure isn’t necessarily failure if you had fun in the process. This may not be true in every situation, but if I think about it, I really did enjoy making these. It was an experience, and you know what? Next time I’ll probably do better because of it.
  2. Failure isn’t the end of the world. Well, at least not when it comes to cookies. When I saw how weird the cookies were turning out, and how stressful everything was becoming, I honestly wanted to cry. But I didn’t. (Barely). I realized that next month, next week, probably even tomorrow, this isn’t gonna seem like that big of a deal.
  3. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Yep, those cookies are definitely not perfect, by any means. But that’s ok. They were made by an imperfect person, so what do you expect?! 😜 😁
  4. Use real sugar and food coloring…. 🤣

Wow. That was deep. Who knew I would learn all that from Christmas Cookies?

Rosy 💖

Have you guys ever made Christmas Cookies?