sprinkle snakes

I really love this time of year.  I love the lights, decorations, music, cheesy movies, you name it.  Unfortunately, this time of year fills my head with these Hallmark perfect ideas.  Take making and decorating these cookies- my favorite cookie of all time.  What I envisioned to be this Norman Rockwell, heartwarming and fun activity turned out more like a toddler hurricane of sprinkles and chocolate.

I was getting the melted chocolate bowl and sprinkle bowls in place.  My son was so excited, and chanting "sprankles, sprankles" (he has a little twang).  Every 5 seconds I would move the sprinkle bowls closer and closer towards me (and further and further from my son).  His little arm would shoot out so fast and grab fist fulls of sprinkles.  Next I watched him try to put the fist full of nonpareils in his mouth, while hearing thousands of the minuscule little balls falling all over the floor.

Next, I tried letting him dip the cookies in the melted chocolate, and then dip the chocolate part in the sprinkles.  He dipped the cookie into the chocolate, then into the sprinkles.  Instead of putting it on the drying rack, he grabs the melted chocolate and sprinkle end and begins smooshing it, spreading chocolate and sprinkles everywhere, while simultaneously grabbing more handfuls of sprinkles to eat.

So, I ended up decorating the cookies, while he pillaged all of sprinkle/chocolate globs that would drip from the drying rack.  He also ate LOTS of cookies, and a few more handfuls of sprinkles.  At the end, we had great looking cookies and a toddler covered in red, green, and chocolate.  Although it was nothing like I had envisioned, we both had a lot of fun.

Growing up we called these cookies "snakes" because my mom always shaped the cookies into an "S" shape.  Even if I only make 1 batch of cookies at Christmas, it's these.  They are perfect!

Sprinkle Snake Cookies
makes: about 6 dozen

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour

For decorations: semi sweet chocolate chips and sprinkles.

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer until smooth.  Add sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.  Add the flour and mix until all of the flour is incorporated.

To shape:  It is easiest to use a cookie press with star disc and shape cookies into the letter "S", or circles for wreaths (my grandmother always did that), shells, rosettes, or even straight or squiggly lines.  My cookie press is packed away in a box somewhere (we've been trying to move for awhile), so I used a pastry bag with a star tip.  The dough is very stiff, so the disposable bags tear easily unless you only fill it with a little bit of dough at a time.  I still went through 4 disposable bags- but I was not willing to rummage in the garage for the box that has my cookie press.

Press or pipe the cookies directly onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  The dough doesn't spread, so you can fit a lot of cookies on each sheet.  Bake 7-12 minutes until you just begin to see a couple of the tips turn a slight golden brown (do not let the cookies get golden all over- it is supposed to be pale).  Cool completely before decorating.

Chocolate- you can melt the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave using short increments of time.  When I microwave chocolate, I do 30 seconds, stir, 10 seconds, stir, and then 5 second intervals until just melted.

Dip end of cooled cookie into chocolate, and then dip chocolate end into sprinkles.  Place decorated cookie on a cookie rack and allow chocolate to set.

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