When I was in high school, I started spending one day every holiday season baking cookies. A cacophony of cookies. I baked at least five or six different kinds, then bagged them all up in sandwich bags with holiday-wrapped Hershey’s Kisses and mini candy bars, then tied the baggies with green and red ribbon, filled a huge shopping bag, and passed them out at school, spreading sugar from period to period, gifting my classmates and teachers with a little bit of home-baked love.
Sounds precious, doesn’t it? Sure it does, until I tell you the part where, when I was doing this at somewhere around age 23, when it occurred to me that I hated this little ritual. I inevitably ended the day washing baking sheets somewhere around 1 a.m., after starting the process somewhere before lunch. Although I would have planned something resembling nutritious food during the day, I ended the day sick from eating bites of raw cookie dough, with aching legs, a small burn on my arm from hitting the side of the oven, and a general Grinch-like demeanor.
So, I stopped the tradition. Here’s the thing: I liked the idea of spreading cheer via cookies, but I had lost any sense of fun that went along with it.
But this year, Lydia of The Perfect Pantry, one of my favorite food bloggers, threw out an idea. She is spreading the word about Drop In & Decorate, an effort sponsored by King Arthur Flour. The idea is simple: bake some cookies, invite friends or family or co-workers or neighbors to help decorate them, and deliver them to a local shelter or food pantry, lunch program, senior center, or any other place in your community where folks could use a little holiday cheer. Christmas cookies, Hanukkah cookies, Kwanzaa cookies, Festivus cookies…this one is non-denominational and provides the opportunity to have the cookie experience without the gritted-teeth at the end of the day.
King Arthur is selling special Drop In & Decorate kits, and they’re providing a special offer: Order a Drop In & Decorate baking kit now through November 15, and King Arthur Flour will include a free dough scraper with each order. Add the kit to your shopping cart. On the payment page, enter Promotion Code “Dropin” to the Promotion field and click the Update button. The page will refresh and the dough scraper will be added to your order. Offer valid through November 15 only (but the kit is on sale until December 26, and would make a great holiday gift).
But this doesn’t require much more than a batch or two of cookies and your own creativity. If you’re interested in participating, I encourage you to learn more over at Lydia’s Drop In & Decorate page, where she has plenty of free resources available.
It’s enough to make an Inadvertent Grinch like me send out some invitations to folks in town. This might be the year I resurrect my cookie baking skills!