SPEAKING OF FOOD: Holiday cookies fly off the plate

Every year about this time, I tell myself I’m going to find some time to make Christmas memories with my children. I promise myself that we’re going to take an afternoon to drive around and look at holiday lights or watch an old movie or bake Christmas cookies.
And every year, we get to Christmas Eve and I find I’ve spent so much time rushing around to find the perfect gift or wrap the perfect present that I let all my best intentions go by the wayside.
Not this year.
On Sunday, my husband and son and I watched “A Christmas Story” and “White Christmas,” two of our holiday favorites. We would have finished the evening with “Holiday Inn,” if we all hadn’t fallen asleep.
I also took some time Sunday afternoon to bake cookies, although it happened by accident. I was digging for a receipt in my wallet when I came across a recipe that Robert Gordon of Bruce sent me a year or so ago.
Mr. Gordon regularly calls or writes or stops by my desk when he’s at the paper paying his bill. He’s always eager to share recipes with me and prides himself on easy-to-make dishes.
I’d been intending to try the cookie recipe he sent for quite a while and Sunday seemed like the right time. I had all the ingredients on hand and so I went to baking.
My dough wasn’t as stiff as I thought it should have been, so I added a little flour to it and then let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up. When it got too sticky to work with, I just put a little flour on my hands, which made rolling the dough into balls much easier.
I, like Mr. Gordon, used yellow cake mix, although he said you can use chocolate if you prefer. I also added about a teaspoon of grated orange rind to half the dough for an extra-special touch.
The recipe made almost 4 dozen cookies. On Monday morning, there were only nine cookies left, and that’s probably because I hid those in the microwave overnight.

Easy Cookies
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box yellow or chocolate cake mix
Powdered sugar
Grated orange rind (optional)

Mix together cream cheese and butter. Add egg and vanilla, blending well. Add cake mix and mix until incorporated. Dough will be stiff. If it’s not, refrigerate dough until it’s easier to handle. Roll dough into balls about the size of a meatball and then roll in powdered sugar. Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.
Makes about 4 dozen.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal