I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm...

Except, not really. Justin has been out of town this week for his sister's graduation, which has left me with plenty of time to hole up in my kitchen, churning out the cookies of this year's Cookie Bonanza. With only my oven to turn to for warmth, I was inspired to create mitten cookies for this year's iced sugar cookie offering.

To be completely honest, I almost decided not to decorate cookies this year, and to produce delicious albeit unadorned sugar cookies according to my favorite recipe from my great-aunt Lois. After going out every night of the week prior to my baking weekend, I was feeling overwhelmed and pressed for time. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my two days fastidiously piping cookies when I needed to be baking, but I knew the assortment would be missing its star attraction without the iced cookies. Their beauty draws the boxes together, and adds the necessary "wow" factor that makes my recipients smile when they first open their gifts. Much as I wanted to make things easier on myself, I just couldn't bring myself to cut corners on something I deemed so important.

As it turned out, the mittens were definitely the way to go. I only needed to make two colors of icing, as I did the final detail work using red store-brought royal icing (achieving a true red in homemade icing is just too difficult to bother with, in my humble opinion), and I was able to execute simple yet attractive geometric motifs, since the cookies did not have to be representational. One of my great joys in cookie decorating is experimenting with new patterns, so these cookies allowed me to play to my strengths and enjoy myself in the process. I was glad that I went through the effort of making them, and I think they will make a stunning focal point for this year's Cookie Bonanza.

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