Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Baker's Dozen :: A Saint Nicholas Tale and Baking Cookies for the Feast!

Yesterday, in preparation for today's feast of St. Nicholas, the children unwrapped The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale (a fun tale about generosity and the origin of the term 'baker's dozen') for us all to read together. After reading the book the we baked Saint Nicholas Cookies using the recipe provided along with the template from the back of the book!

We finished decorating them this afternoon, in between early morning Orthodontist appointments, lessons with the tutor, and lego robotics for the big boys.   It was a busy day, but ended with our usual St. Nicholas Brunch (for dinner this year) and another wonderful picture book!

First we collected all the Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon almond milk
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt 
About 4 1/2 cups flour

*I'm including this picture just so you can all see the piles of random items on my counter at any given time... (And show you why I've been hesitating to post any more of the gift ideas I have for my children this year, since I frequently find the kids reading my blog!)  


1. Melt the butter and set aside. 

2. Beat the egg in a large bowl until the yolk and white are well mixed and fluffy.   

(Measure the correct amount of honey, if you can get it out of the bottle!)  

3. Add the honey, milk, almond extract to the egg mixture and beat well.  

(Have you gotten that honey out yet, honey?)  

4. Mix the brown sugar, spices, and salt.  

5. Add to the egg mixture and beat until well mixed.  

6. Add the melted butter slowly and beat until well mixed.

7. Watch mom dump the flour in and make a BIG mess 
Add the flour slowly until the cookie dough is solid enough to knead. 

8.  Transfer to your work surface and knead in more flour to make soft, slightly sticky dough. 

9. Shape the cookie with a pattern, cookie cutter, or cookie mold.  

Even though we do have a few various St. Nicholas Cookie Cutters, we opted to copy the pattern provided on the back of our book.  

(I have been keeping an extra close eye on that baby, who is very interested in our Advent Wreath!) 

10. Preheat the oven to 350˚F, or lower for especially thick cookies.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly brown around the edges.  Transfer to cookie racks and cool. 

11. After the cookies have cooled, decorate with red and white icing.  

We started with the red frosting last night, and finished decorating the cookies today, once we picked up some more white cookie icing on our way home this morning.   The children all really enjoyed decorating their own cookies, and helping with the rest!  (The big kids helped Snuggles and Rose decorate their cookies.)  I thought they did an excellent job! 


12. Enjoy!


13. (We have to have a Baker's Dozen for the directions, right?)

 With a generous spirit like dear St. Nicholas, 
package up some of the cookies to deliver to friends!

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!  


  1. merveilleux je rêve devant votre blog j'espère que vous allez tous bien, et je vous souhaite plein de bonheur à vous et votre famille

    amitiés de FRANCE

    1. Thank you, Marylin! I hope you are having a blessed Advent!

  2. Oh, Jessica and family, you did a beautiful job with those cookies!

    Jessica, could you please share where you got that mat or board that your children are using?

    1. Isn't it great! I ordered it during my recent Pampered Chef Party. This was the first time we have used it and it won't be the last! :)

    2. Thank you for letting me know, Jessica.

      May you and your family continue to have a blessed Advent!

  3. So beautiful! The kids did a great job. I am so very impressed.

  4. Beautiful job on the cookies! They are talented cookie decorators!

  5. Those turned out beautiful!!!

    If you put the honey in warm water, or even just run warm water over the bottle, it will flow out a little better.

    You are amazing! To bake cookies, always seems like a major thing, to get it done and takes a couple hours! You accomplish so much, school, baby, appts, and cookie making--and a special St Nicholas supper. Amazing woman.

    1. Great suggestion Jamie! Normally that is what we do, but the phone rang right about then, so it kept them busy for a little while, while I was talking! ;)

      I was pretty tired last night! It was all I could do to drag myself out of bed this morning to make it to Mass, especially since I have been having a difficult time sleeping lately. I spent the day in town running errands and am just getting home now! So much to do, and not nearly enough time! lol

  6. I keep reading your blog and longing for the day my kids are old enough to do this stuff!

  7. They are beautiful! Two years in a row now we have planned to make those and both years it hasn't happened. Last year was just time and this year we were spoiled with so many other treats from friends they wouldn't have been eaten, though we could have shared them! Isn't that Pampered Chef mat and rolling pin great?! I love that mat! A blessed Feast of St. Nicholas to you and yours!

    1. I don't see why they couldn't be made any time this month to be given to friends! :) I hope you are able to find an opportunity. My children really enjoyed it!

  8. Your children are master cookie decorators! They turned out so cute. Where did you get the cookie cutter of St. Nicholas?

    1. We just copied the pattern from the back of the book on to cardstock, cut it out, and then cut the dough with a small knife.

  9. Those are beautiful! Found you via Jennifer Fulwiler and I can't remember what else I was going to say because I keep thinking about cookies.

  10. Beautiful cookies - your children did such a nice job! Sweet pictures of all the little ones joining in, too. :) I think we are going to have to find time to make some of these soon!

  11. thanks for sharing your idea on how to make the cookies! I'm always lamenting we don't have a cutter, this could be the solution. your children have done an incredible job of icing!!! smiled about the blog reading, my children do the same!

  12. What recipe did you use for the icing?

  13. Dear Jessica,
    I just received the link to this post from the author of "The Baker's Dozen", Aaron Shepard.
    I am the illustrator of the book, and I wanted to let you know how happy the pictures of your beautiful children making the cookies, and the spectacular finished cookies, made me!!!!
    Seeing this is so incredibly gratifying and reminds me exactly why I do what I do!
    Thank you so much for this post and let your children know how impressed I am with the beautiful job they did!
    Best Wishes, Wendy Edelson


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