Monday, December 5, 2011

Surprise Cookies

Christmas gift giving is tricky.  There is a decision to make- do you go for a big surprise, with the possibility that the recipient will not like the gift, or do you have them pick it out, making sure the size and color are correct, then wrap it and hand it to them?

I love surprises. That tingly feeling of anticipation as they hold your wrapped package in their lap, wondering what on earth it could be, not daring to hope, but hoping anyway that it might be that one  thing they really wanted. The tension builds as they gently ease open the wrapping paper (or tear it off, if that's the way they roll). And then, if you shopped/planned/or made correctly, the look on their face makes it all worthwhile.

Early in my marriage I tried for surprises and they always failed. First of all because my husband has an almost supernatural gift for knowing what's inside a wrapped package. I tried wrapping a tie rolled up into a squishy ball, foregoing the standard and obvious tie box. My husband, picked it up, gave it a squeeze, and said, "Oh, that's a tie." I was quite depressed. Then I tried the box within a box gambit. He'd pick it up, shake it, listen critically, and announce the contents. Boo again. He guessed the cologne before he even picked up the box, smelling it three feet away from the tree.

Finally my husband realized that knowing what all of his presents were a week before he even unwrapped them drained Christmas morning of a lot of its fun. He now has a strict no guessing policy. He doesn't shake, squeeze, or sniff any packages under the tree. Until Christmas morning. Then he releases his inner Karnack and has a good time.

But the other reason my surprises fail is because of finances. Since he pays the bills, unless I pay cash, he knows about it. And accumulating a stack of cash isn't something I'm good at. I do many things fairly well, but none of them generate income, so I'm stuck either asking him for money to buy him a present (which he always vetoes, saying he doesn't need anything) or buying in a very modest price range.

Last year I finally managed to surprise him. I'd been saving cash in my super secret cash stash and when I found a really good deal on Amazon on something he had on his wish list, I asked my daughter to order it and handed her the cash. She kept it at her house and brought it over Christmas eve, sneaking it into the house while my husband was occupied with the grand baby.

Christmas morning he was happy, amazed, and confused when he opened his gift. He said thank you many times, then asked over and over "How did you do it?" It drove him nuts. I loved that best of all.

Today's cookies are molasses cookies. An obvious choice for Christmas time and always welcome. What's the surprise part about it? Um, (she coughs in embarrassment and nervously shuffles feet), it's the recipe. There is no recipe today. You see, I made these cookies a while ago. I've been too busy with life to stop and take pictures of stuff I've made recently, so I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel for this post. And after I'd gotten it written, I could not find the recipe. I'd helpfully written the notation that it came from a King Arthur's Baking Sheet and was Whole Wheat Molasses Cookies. So, if any of you happen to have the recipe, please email it to me and I'll post it. Till then, I'll keep looking. And hopefully I've inspired you to go bake your own favorite molasses cookie.


Jennifer Jo said...

Very funny, Lynn. No recipe!

And you failed to tell us: what was the gift you got your husband?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Yes the surprised face is a huge part of the 'gift'! My worst Christmas was when I was 12 and went looking for "Santa". Unfortunately, I found him. I found everything destined for under the tree in the attic at the top of the pull down stairs. Worst Christmas ever. Hard to pretend surprise. Never did that again.

Mrsblocko said...

Is this it?

Chels said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has a hard surprising their spouse. My husband is a banker and knows where all of our money goes, not that we have much of it to begin with. But I have my own account now and I save up my allowance to buy him something that will surprise him. This year, I'm saving up for a iPhone holder and wallet all in one :)

Those cookies glisten! They look delicious!

bellini said...

Finding that perfect gift and keeping it a surprise is half the fun.Being surprised with something you love is even better. Sorry I do not have the recipe.

grace said...

my expectations are always low when it comes to being surprised; after all, i'm made to wrap my own presents! :)

We Are Not Martha said...

These are beautiful and delicious-sounding!! My fiance is tough to surprise too, but it's fun to try :)


Melinda said...

Your story strikes a cord with me. I was telling a friend (only 2 days ago) that my love of surprising my husband with a wonderful present has been squelched. I gave up and now ask for a 'wanted' suggestion list to chose from. It isn't as fun.
How spooky you should write about this very thing! Congratulations on surprising him at least once, even if it was last year!
The molasses cookies look good even though there is no recipe! I love the way they crinkle on top. Perhaps the name of the recipe was Kris Crinkle Molasses cookies?