Following my sister's stay at my house this weekend, I discovered some additions to the Christmas Baking list in my food planner. Underneath my own list of recipes and notes on the number of days I'll need to complete them, she wrote:
Teddybear cookies (7 days)
Gingerbread house (1/2 day)
Candy canes--must find recipe, maybe elves can help?
More spiced truffles (2 days)
Ha ha, little sister.
Her mention of teddybear cookies triggers a sore spot in my Christmas baking experience. Years ago I discovered a recipe for the cutest little white/chocolate sugar teddy bears. You divide sugar dough in two, add chocolate to one half, and then begin rolling 1 inch balls for bodies, 1/2 inch balls for heads, 1/4 inch balls for arms and legs, 1/8 inch balls for ears, 1/16 inch balls for buttons, eyes and mouths...you get the idea, and then putting them together in alternating colours. White bodies get chocolate heads and chocolate legs, white heads get chocolate ears and faces, and so on. The process is absolutely maddening. But the final results are so cute and delicious that my family would insist that I make them every year. As the years passed, my tolerance for them got lower and lower, until I was cursing those poor little bears before I creamed the butter.
Then came the year that I swore off them completely. My brother and sister begged me to not give up, and promised that they would help. So I made a double batch, only to have my helpers get bored half-way through and wander off. That left me with twice the amount of dough to work through, and twice the time to develop new and creative curses for those GD bears. That was the last year I made them. It obviously doesn't stop my family from requesting them--and maybe five years from now I'll have forgotten how annoying they are--at least enough to consider making them again. I can guarantee it won't be this year.