My Grandma instilled in me a strong love for holidays and a desire to share the magic of holidays. Her home was always decked out top to bottom for every holiday, highlights including the Easter tree, the Halloween parade, the Valentine’s wreaths… they all made for a very memorable childhood full of warmth and Grandmotherly love. I can’t help but love the holidays too.
Last year, I decided to share some holiday spirit with all of my fellow 50 teachers living on campus. I spent my lunch breaks for a week folding origami trees. I learned to make these trees a couple of years ago and bring the technique back out every holiday season.
I also baked *ew* regular wheat flour cookies for everyone. I don’t have enough gluten free flour to share with everyone. I had to import gluten free flour to Myanmar myself in my suitcase. It was interesting for me to work with my personal poison. It made the cookie dough so much fluffier and doughier- gummier, stickier. I knew that was true in theory, but it was interesting to see it after a couple of years of baking with the non-traditional flours. I held my hands out like they were toxic when they got gluten on them. The cookie puffed up in the oven like magic. I washed my hands lots as I frosted and added sprinkles to them.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 Tablespoon ginger- I grated it fresh
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg (They don’t sell these spices ground so I crushed them against the cutting board with the side of a knife)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar (they don’t sell brown here so I used white)
- 10 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup molasses (which they don’t sell here so I used palm honey)
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combine the flour and spices in a bowl and set aside
- Cream butter and sugar
- Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla
- Mix in molasses and 1 T milk
- Add the flour mixture, half at a time
- Add additional tablespoon as necessary to bring the dough together
- Freeze the dough for 10 minutes to stiffen
- Roll the dough out to ¼ inch
- Using cookie cutters, shape the cookies and place them on a cookie sheet
- Bake cookies for 8 minutes
- Let the cookie cool on the tray for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack
- Let cool
- Frost (see below) and decorate!
For my frosting, I used about 3 cups powdered sugar, a Tablespoon of melted butter and added the milk in small increments until the frosting reached a desirable consistency.
The cookie recipe came from Classy Cooking
Then the unexpected hardest part of my personal Santa mission: finding plastic bags! I wanted to put each cookie in a bag so I could leave them outside just before dawn. I didn’t want the bugs to get them (we had some monstrous devils). I had to look in 4 stores! I know plastic bags are bad for the environment, but I didn’t expect Myanmar to have such strict laws about not selling them. A local hole in the wall hooked it up. I added stickers to each bag and tied the cookies in with “plastic rope.” I also attached a note. I set my alarm for 5:50 and snuck around in the dark for delivery. I was surprised no one caught me! I knew there were some early risers.
Some people left “thanks Santa” notes on the community white board and a few sleuths asked around until they found out it was me. From what I hear, the cookies were good, but you know they didn’t go anywhere near my mouth!