[kitchen challenged]

Christmas certainly was interesting this year.

As per usual, the three of us Hoffman women baked like fiends. But this year things went a little awry more than once.

You see, Mom decided to bake for her side of the family, the church, and our little family of 4. That meant a lot of baking, the first part of which was on a deadline. The church cookies were due Thursday and the extended family cookies needed to get there before Christmas, at least in theory.

So away we went, baking like little fools. Things were going well at first: all three of us were working on different recipes, taking turns popping cookie sheets into the oven. Unfortunately our oven is a bit on the old side. After a few hours, it was just plain done.

Which it promptly let us know by trapping a tray of cookies in the oven.

No joke.

Suddenly the door just wouldn't open. We tugged. We jiggled. We turned the oven off. We flipped the breaker. We jiggled some more.

Finally we gave in and called the repairman. The oven refused to relinquish its captives so we we stood huddled with our faces against the door, mourning the loss of a batch of chocolate peppermint cookies.

Thankfully the repairman was able to fix the latch. Apparently if you use an old oven too much it auto locks, forcing you to allow it time to cool before baking anymore. Who knew? Certainly not us. Well, not until after we'd already sacrificed a tray of cookies to the old crotchety oven.

So we moved on with our baking, this time being careful to give the oven time to cool between batches.  Everything was fine.

For a while.

Christmas eve rolled around and we went to bake cookies for Santa. Yes Kara is 21 and I am 25. Yes we still bake cookies for Santa. After several years of failed homemade sugar cookie recipes, Kara convinced Mom to go back to our old standby: Pillsbury. You know the tubes of dough you by at the grocery store?? Those ones. So after taking photos in our Christmas suits, Kara and I threw on festive PJ's and set to work rolling and cutting cookies. They were our best looking cookies to date: perfectly formed without a missing limb or head in sight.

Until they went in the oven.

Then something strange happened.

They mutated. Our perfectly formed cookies turned into large shapeless lumps. We followed every direction. We didn't grease the cookie sheets. We set the oven to exactly the right temperature and put the cookies in for exactly the right length of time.

Yet still tray after tray came out unidentifiable. Was that a snowman? Was it a dog? Was it a tree? Only God could answer that question.

Since the cookies were already shapeless lumps, we had fun with the frosting process. Okay that's not true. We always have fun with the frosting process. And our cookies always look like they were decorated by third graders.

It turns out that mutant cookies are the best tasting cookies of them all.

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