Are you still somehow bursting with the Spirit of the Season? Well I’ve got just the thing to help you release your unspent Holiday energies.
When the candy cane of Life has been sucked to a sharp point and aimed at your pupil, my advice is to grab it firmly by the handle, turn it around and poke it before it pokes you. And I find that the very best poking can be done in the privacy of your own home. With your friends.
You owe it to yourself to throw a Stag Holiday Cookie Party.
That’s right. Men only. No girlfriends to criticize your frosting technique. No wives to accuse you of making a mess on the living room carpet. No Stag Hags with their fancy nonpareils and piping tips to complicate things. Just good, old fashioned male bonding with a bunch of guys standing around a cookie and drinking. A lot.
“But so many of my friends are out of town”, you might complain. That’s nonsense, I say. There are plenty of guys in your life who would love to come to your party, if you’d only ask. Your co-worker who had to cancel his trip to Palm Springs at the last minute because of some unnamed “roommate drama”? Ask him. That nice, well put together older gentleman at the gym who always offers to spot you when you do your squats? What better way to show your appreciation than by finally inviting him into your inner sanctum? Your downstairs neighbor with all those cats? You know he’ll be available. And what about your poker buddy whose always telling you his wife just doesn’t understand his needs? Definitely ask him.
How to throw a Stag Holiday Cookie Party
There are four primary requirements to throwing a successful party:
- An inexhaustible supply of alcohol
- An exhaustible supply of male guests
There are four secondary items which are not required, but are very helpful to have on-hand:
- A plastic tarp. (If your flooring is of the hardwood variety, bravo, but still put something down for easy clean up.)
- Plenty of fresh towels, one for each guest.
- An appropriate selection of music, such as Queen’s “Thank God, It’s Christmas”, or anything by Barry White.
- Poppers. Or, as they call them in the UK, Christmas crackers.
You are welcome to use store-bought cookies, but it is often difficult to find them unfrosted. But making your own is marvelously easy and is a great way to show the male members of your party that you’re willing to make an effort on their behalf.
How To Make Holiday Cookies
First, you’ll need the appropriate ingredients, most of which you may already have in your kitchen:
• 2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus a little more for rolling.
• 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon of salt
• 1 stick ( 1/2 cup) of room temperature butter
• 1 cup of granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Second, you’ll need to turn on your oven (to 325°F). Sorry, these cookies cannot be microwaved.
To make the cookies:
1. Cream together the sugar and butter in a standard mixer. A stand mixer is a big machine that lives in the back of your cupboard which probably says KitchenAid on it your parents gave you for your graduation/1st wedding. Use the paddle attachment to cream these ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. When the butter and sugar are creamed, add the whole egg (minus the shell) and vanilla, then slowly add the dry ingredients to this until it all has been incorporated and looks very much like dough, which is what it is.
3. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured (but otherwise clean) surface and roll it out into the shape of a soft pole until you achieve what you consider a pleasing length and thickness. Sheath the dough in plastic and place it in the freezer for about 10 minutes to harden.
4. Remove dough from the freezer, place it back onto the floured work surface and, with a sharp knife, attempt to slice the dough into 1/8″ to 1/4″ slices. Next, become haunted by the memory of your childhood emasculation nightmares, put knife back in its drawer and pour yourself a drink. By the time you have recovered, the dough should have warmed up enough to now be reformed and rolled into two unoffending discs, re-chilled, and then cut with round cookie cutters. If you lack such cutters, you may use the (cleaned) open end of a soup or pork-n-bean can found at the bottom of your recycling bin to make your doughy circles. Place them on a baking sheet, place back into the freezer for another ten minutes, and then pop the sheet into your oven to bake for about 15 minutes or until done. Do not let them brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. (You really only need to make one cookie, but it’s nice to have back ups.)
To Make The Icing:
Mix 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar with 4 tablespoons of whole milk and stir until smooth. Next add roughly 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup and whisk until all is incorporated. Too thick? Add a little more milk. And what a great reminder to rehydrate your own self.
Many people do not like the taste of cookie frosting, which is why I now suggest you flavor it almond extract or more vanilla. Add whatever scenting you like. Some folks enjoy a whiff of papaya or mango, though I don’t know where you’d find such essences. I do not recommend asparagus extract. For an added touch, sneak in a tablespoon of protein powder, for nutritional purposes. You’ll be certain to get a rise out of your friend from the gym when you tell him!
Place 3 to 5 millilitres of frosting in several small, plastic baggies (at least two per guest), close and set aside. Make certain to have plenty of frosting left over to decorate one, special cookie with a bull’s-eye motif to be placed in the center of your party room.
It will make for an excellent conversation piece. In fact, it will soon become the focus of all your Holiday fun.
It’s Time To Party
When your guests arrive, offer to take their coats, hats, and any other article of clothing they might care to give you. Next, offer them a double shot of Holiday Cheer. Wait exactly five minutes and then give them at least two more. Make certain that there is no food available other than the bull’s-eye cookie.
If the conversation begins to wane, it is always a good idea to bemoan the fact that the weather outside is frightful and how disappointed you are that it’s too cold to play a little basketball, but how much fun it would be to play a similar sort of game indoors. If one or more of your guests agree with your sentiment, suggest that said indoor game be played “shirts-and-skins”. Re-apply beer and liquor until all of your guests agree.
Once you have selected teams and are all dressed or undressed accordingly, point to the bull’s eye-themed cookie and comment on how perfect it would be for a round or two of target practice. Hand each guest a bag of frosting, instructing them to tear a tiny hole in one end or, if you are a truly excellent host, offer to do it for them.
Each team will take turns aiming their icing at the bull’s eye cookie. Imagine the fun of discovering who among your friends can shoot the farthest and who can shoot most accurately. And who simply prefers to dribble.
Should at any point during the excitement, any the members of the Shirts team find that he has been squirted with a Skin’s sugary goo, insist that it is probably for the best that everyone play skins. Immediately offer everyone another drink and offer those who have been unintentionally iced a rub-off with a fresh towel. This is a nice, personal touch.
Continue the game until everyone’s icing has been spent. By this time, every one of your guests is likely to be:
a) fairly cold from lack of sufficient clothing.
b) extremely intoxicated and
c) understandably hungry.
At this point you may wish to:
a) offer the cookie to the guest who hit the center of the bull’s eye first.
b) offer the cookie to your drunkest guest (who is most likely to
to be the friend whose wife doesn’t understand him).
c) eat the cookie in front of your guests (which, as a host, is in very
d) offer to let everyone take a hot shower (see: clean towels), order
several pizzas (with a gluten-free option for your gym buddy), and
spend the rest of the evening all curled up on the couch together
watching Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by Rank & Bass.
Letter “d” is generally the best option because no one really likes the taste of Christmas cookies, however you try to frost them. And honestly, you’d be surprised how many of your male friends might go for that because, to paraphrase my friend Christian’s sage words, “Most guys are just a six-pack away from being Merry.”
And it’s so, so true.
Here’s hoping you’re Merry, too.