This may not be the most popular post I've ever written, but truly, I'm writing in the spirit of being helpful, not judgy. Pinky swear.
We went to a Sunday school program at church yesterday afternoon. A program that has been planned for months, along with the cookie reception afterward, it didn't sneak up on anyone. Every family was supposed to bring cookies to share after the program. I'm going to not address the fact that only about 20 families brought cookies, the fact that people would deliberately not bring cookies to this when it's the tradition and they were asked is not really worth talking about. Personal choice, duly noted.
What I am going to talk about though were the number of cookies that were brought that were bought at the store, probably in a rush on the way to the program. I get it. December's busy, it's just one more thing to do, who cares anyway, it doesn't matter...
I'm going to try and make the case that it does matter. It was kind of funny, there were easily 6 boxes of the same kind of cookie, though there were other store bought cookies as well, in fact there were only four families who brought homemade cookies. Let me tell you, those homemade treats were inhaled while the store bought cookies hung out and looked sad. Picked at, to be sure, sometimes taken, but an awful lot of them went back home or were pitched. None of the homemade cookies made it back home.
I do get it. I didn't feel good yesterday, Mark certainly didn't feel good yesterday, Saturday was busy, there were a million good reasons to not bother making homemade cookies, but none of them really mattered, in the end I sucked it up, made the cookies, it took less than 40 minutes start to finish, and I was really glad I did.
If you ever find yourself in similar circumstances I wanted to share some of my favorite quick, easy cookie recipes. Definitely worth making, something you'd be proud to place on a cookie table and that will get eaten. Plus, when you're asked to contribute something to a reception, it just makes it a little more special, in my opinion, when you take something you've made, than when you hurry and stop by the store for a quick plastic package of who-knows-what.
First up, what I took yesterday, 7 Layer Bars. I'm sure everyone has a recipe, if you don't, here's what I did:
7 Layer Bars
9 graham crackers (whole rectangles, 1/3 of a box, 5 ounces) crushed in a bag
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia nuts, whatever
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk, bittersweet, mini)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into a 9x13 baking pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray and, if you have it, lined with parchment.
Layer on nuts, chips, coconut.
Pour milk over all.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
That's it! Easy peasy and trust me, they were gone in minutes.
Another quick recipe we enjoy taking places because kids always scarf them up are Funfetti Cookies. You need cake mix, Funfetti is lots of fun, 1/3 cup oil, 2 eggs and a can of frosting. That's it! Combine the cake mix, oil, eggs until mixed well. Roll into 1" balls, put on a cookie sheet 2" apart, and bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes. Frost the warm cookies, sprinkle with sprinkles, and you're good to go. They look like you fussed and fussed and no one but you needs to know how easy they were.
Brownie Bites--take your favorite boxed brownie mix, prepare it according to package directions. Use a medium cookie scoop (or a spoon) to portion it out into a mini muffin tin (I get about 18 brownie bites), bake at 350 for about 15 minutes and everyone thinks you're a genius. Brownies transformed.
There are a couple more bar cookie recipes I love, M & M bars, Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Bars, Oatmeal Raspberry bars, but these are the quickest of the bunch.
Next time you're invited to bring some cookies to something special, I hope you'll think about taking something homemade, it really does send a message that you cared enough to fuss, at least a little.
(If it's really just beyond whatever's going on in your life and store bought it must be, I will clue you in that the 2 dozen Krispy Kreme sprinkle doughnuts disappeared in the blink of an eye.)