’Tis the season for cooking and sharing a little holiday joy.

Robbie Caponetto

I’m not much of a baker. I basically make two things: biscuits and pancakes. Both of them are Southern Living recipes involving a lot of butter and buttermilk, and both have become popular in the Evans house on weekend mornings. This year, I decided to try my hand at cookies, mostly because my daughter, Phoebe, has taken a keen interest in baking and eating them. Until recently, it hadn’t occurred to her to make cookies for someone else, but I thought there might be a nice Christmas lesson here. We decided to test an old Southern Living recipe for Marble Snickerdoodles (by Ben Mims, December 2013). If they turned out well, we’d eat a few and take the rest to her brother, who’s away at school. If they didn’t, we’d just eat them ourselves. 

Cooking is often a solitary pursuit, but baking cookies calls for companionship. It’s fine to do solo but more fun with a partner. It also makes the process go a lot faster if you’re whipping up four or five dozen, like we were. For the snickerdoodles, Phoebe and I used a stand mixer to make two batches of batter (her favorite part), one plain and the other chocolate. Then we rolled them into balls, dipped them in cinnamon sugar, and flattened them on foil-lined sheet pans. The whole process took us about an hour (plus a half hour to chill the dough), but there was something satisfying about sliding those trays into the oven. A few minutes later, when the smell of cinnamon and chocolate began to fill the kitchen, our ordinary Sunday afternoon had been transformed.

WATCH: Try Making These Marble Snickerdoodles Yourself for the Cookie Swap

When they were done, we let them cool for a few minutes—easily the most painful part of the process—and then dug in. The verdict? Well, they weren’t going to win a beauty contest, but they were crisp, chocolaty, and delicious—certainly good enough to give to a big brother. Phoebe, an arch cookie critic, declared them a success. “They’re sooooo good,” she said, after about the third one. “And they look like you worked really hard on them when you didn’t.” 

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