Santa Hat Cookies & Why I Hate Santa

I guess HATE is too strong, but I don’t like Santa.

Except maybe this Santa. He’s awesome:

(Photo taken by my brother-in-law, and Hawks fan, Austin Metz)

It all started years ago when I was working at a group home with teenage foster and probation kids in South Central Los Angeles. I know, the white girl from the farm, in South Central.

I loved it.

I was able to see these kids as more than just Gang Members with horrible parents, but human children with potential, talent, hearts and brains. Being raised by grown-up damaged children.

It changed me.

I was teased, laughed at, listen to, and trusted.

I’ve posted so many serious posts lately, I’m no going to go into great detail about that first year, the first christmas. The kids who, at 16 years old, received their first Christmas presents of their lives, or how none of the parents came to our “Holiday Party.”

But I will tell you this: Nearly every kid had a story about thinking he was bad because Santa didn’t bring him presents. After all, that’s the story, right? “Santa brings presents to good boys and girls. Bad kids don’t get any.”

Or knowing that Santa wasn’t real because the Christmas after he turned 5 he sat in the living room, all alone on Christmas morning with no presents because Mom was on a bender and never came home.

This probably doesn’t apply to you. You will probably never have a Christmas when your kids don’t have presents. Hopefully.

But this year, more kids than ever won’t have presents. And the last thing I would want is for my daughter to carry that message with her to the kids at school who didn’t get presents, for her to think the reason those less fortunate kids didn’t get any gifts during the holidays was because they were bad. 

And I would never want ANY kid to think that the reason he didn’t get presents was because he’s bad.

We don’t need this.

Even though I don’t like the message that comes along with Santa (and I won’t even go into my fear of Mall Santas and their inherent creepiness) Santa is still an iconic symbol of Christmas. He is a great decoration. Which is why I made these Santa Hat Cookies.

I even have one Santa decoration at my house. Just one. I bought it in Paris a few years ago because I really wanted a Christmas Ornament from France and this was all I could find in September.

Links to donate to those in need, if you want:

Toys For Tots

Salvation Army

Angle Tree

Donation Town

These Cookies are pretty adorable, and really easy to make.

Santa Hat Cookies

Sugar Cookie Base:

1 cup (2 sticks) of Butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 package of cream cheese (8 oz) softened

1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup, room temperature (very important)

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup powdered sugar

Hat:

24 large strawberries, stem and leaves cut off


In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well combined. In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix with a fork until combined. Add the flour to the stand mixer and mix until the flour is just incorporated into the butter mixture.

Form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. It is important that the sugar cookie dough is cold or the cookies will spread too much during making.

Preheat oven to 350.

Once the dough is chilled, roll out and cut into 2 inch circles (or just larger than the base of your strawberries).

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just barely start to brown. It will probably look as if they need another minute or too, but cookies continue to bake once they are out of the oven and you don’t want these to be too crispy.

Allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on high for about 2 minutes. Add your room temperature butter and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and beat again until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the powdered sugar, return mixer to a low speed and mix until the sugar is incorporated into the cream cheese.  Add the frosting to a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, add to a large, heavy duty, zip lock bag and cut about 1cm off the bottom corner of the zip lock bag, this can be used as a make-shift piping bag.

Pipe a dime sized amount onto the cut end of the strawberry and place in the middle of your sugar cookie.

Pipe the frosting around the base of the strawberry, as well as a pea sized amount on the tip of the berry to resemble Santa’s Hat.


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49 Responses to Santa Hat Cookies & Why I Hate Santa

  1. Alizea December 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Amazing ! Great idea !

  2. jules December 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    This is so cute – but with a christmassy wow factor.

  3. Grace December 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Thanks for this post. Cookies are adorable, but your message about the kids was even better.

    • Jackie December 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

      Thank you Grace! I was a little worried about coming off as “Debbie Downer” Glad you liked it :)

    • Nicolette December 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

      I completely agree!

      • unknown December 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

        sanat is fake he tryin to take god stop he says xmas he crossing off christ trust me this fake has 4 eyes

  4. Maggie @ kitchie coo December 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    I’ve never even thought about that aspect of the santa tradition and it makes me really sad. Dang. Thank you for sharing that story, its actually very inspiring and a greater motivator to give to those in need during the holidays.
    Now, these cute little santa hats! Wow. You must live in a warmer climate where you can get strawberries this time of year. Not a chance of finding them in Montana this time of year, or at least not tasty ones. I bet I could improvise though with gum drops though. Thanks for such a cute holiday cookie idea!

    • Jackie December 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      I’m glad you like them! I live in California and we get to have strawberries all year, they are almost always in season here.

      I had never really thought about it either until I met those boys. But it is so important to be able to see the world from someone else’s point of view, even if it hurts us a little.

  5. BusyWorkingMama December 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Looks adorable! I saw a similar concept with Santa Hat brownies on pinterest this morning.

    • Jackie December 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

      I saw those too! Right after I posted this. Isn’t pintrest great?!

  6. Brooke December 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Your post made me cry. I hate to read about kids being so hurt. My son just turned six and the story about the little boy home alone on Christmas tore me up! Thank you for sharing and thank you for going and working with those kids. I’m sure you made a huge difference in their lives. On the other hand, these are darling. Maybe you could call them “toboggans” or “stocking caps” or whatever they’re called in your neck of the woods… =)

    • Jackie December 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

      I’m not sure how much I did for them, but they sure changed me! I still think about them and wish for good things in their lives.

      I heard from one of the boys who grew up so great. He has a house and a wife, he’s a chef and teaches cooking at the community college! I’m so proud of him! But I have no idea what happened to the rest of them. I just hope they did have as well as that boy did.

  7. Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee December 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Your thing about kids thinking they’re bad made me a little teary eyed!! It reminded me of years ago when I was probably 3 or 4 years old and my mom and I were at Target picking out toys to donate to those less fortunate, and I asked her why Santa Clause didn’t bring presents to them. She told me that Santa Clause didn’t know how to find their houses. It really stuck with me! These cookies are adorable. :)

    • Jackie December 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      Wow, what a memory! So sweet of you to think of that at such a young age, and your mom to donate presents with you is such a great example of what Christmas spirit really is :)

  8. Yadsia @ShopCookMake December 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    What an original looking cookie.

  9. Miranda @ Living One Bite at a Time December 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Wow… Great story! Thanks for sharing. I think everybody kinda needs a dose of “remember what Christmas is ACTUALLY all about” every once in a while because it’s really easy to forget when you’re super stressed out and busy at this time of the year.

    • Jackie December 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

      I could not agree more!

  10. Teanna December 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Great post. Sometimes when you see people who’ve gone down the wrong path, you never stop to think why or how they got there. It’s heartbreaking. I signed up for a Toy Donation in New York City this year, and I can’t wait to buy presents for those children. After reading your post, it makes me want to do even more and look into volunteering

    • Jackie December 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

      That’s so great! If everyone who is able to do so gave just a little I really believe there would be no kids who had to go without.

  11. Jessica | Oh Cake December 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    The cookies are adorable but the story about the kids is incredible.

  12. Jasmine December 5, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    Hey Jackie,

    How thick do we make the disc and how long can the cookies keep before assembly?

    Amazing story. We gave a couple gifts to foster kids, but it never seems like enough.

    Jasmine

    • Jackie December 6, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

      Make the cookie about 1/2 inch bigger than the base of your strawberries, and about 1/4 inch thick. It really depends on what size strawberries you can find, they vary in size so much. Cookies will spread a bit during baking.

  13. Jo December 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    Looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at foodepix.com.

  14. chinmayie @ love food eat December 6, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Super cute cookies… very smart idea!

  15. Olivia December 6, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Your story was so eye-opening and heart breaking, but you ended it with a very positive way to make a difference. I love you for your honesty as well.

    Thanks for sharing both a great story and adorable cookie recipe. I believe in karma, and you, my dear, have done something very wonderful. :)

    Merry Christmas!
    Olivia

    • Jackie December 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

      Olivia! Thats the nicest thing, thank you :)

  16. Melissa December 6, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    You almost made me cry. The story was sad, but the message great and the cookies are mah-voh-luss. I have a party to attend, if I can ind some strawberries that don’t cost an arm and a leg I’ll be making a batch o these. :)

  17. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. December 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    This couldn’t be more true. It is sad. I always donate toys every year. The thought of a child not having anything to open really makes me want to cry! So glad you are spreading the message and provided links to donate! These cookies are so pretty and what a great idea to use the strawberry for the hat!

    • Jackie December 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

      Thank you Stephanie! We all just need to do a little, makes a huge difference.

  18. Cindy from Austin December 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Thank you for your inspriation and story. I baked these cookies tonight. Really cute, but your message about Santa really moved me. You’ll never realize the impact you had on those teens. Thank you for your time, effort and heart.

  19. Cindy from Austin December 6, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    Thank you for your inspiration and story. I baked these cookies tonight. Really cute, but your message about Santa really moved me. When my dad was a tot (in the late 40’s), he was so poor with an absent mother that the only sign of Christmas was the Salvation Army stopping by with oranges and candy canes. I always give to the bell ringers remembering his story. And for you… you’ll never realize the impact you had on those teens. Thank you for your time, effort and heart.

    • Jackie December 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

      That makes me want to give your Dad a hug! It is amazing how many people have a story about something similar to that. I’ve been so inspired by people who are making a move away from the “Commercial Christmas” we all seem to inundated with these days. My daughter is so young, Hope I can figure it out before she gets sucked in!

  20. Adrian December 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Great post and thanks for the stark reminder. Someone needs to be the conscience of the food bloggers. I nominate you Jackie.

    p.s. That is an EPIC French Santa.

    • Jackie December 6, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      He speaks with a french accent and I have to feed him Chocolate Croissants constantly :)

      It’s funny how, even when trying to make a huge career move to the food world, I can’t seem to pull my head away from social services. Hope that proves to be a good thing!

  21. Laura December 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I love the santa hat cookie idea!

    I never thought of the downside to the santa hype. Thanks for sharing. Your story really puts things into perspective.

    Laura

  22. AmericanHoney164 December 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Jackie,

    Your husband shared this with me today. I totally get it now. You are awesome and both your hearts touch mine. I will never look at Santa the same. Beautiful post.

    Happy Holidays!

    Sheila

  23. Katie December 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Out of curiosity, do you do Santa with your child?

    • Jackie December 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      She is really little, only 20 months, so it’s not an issue right now. I really hope to focus on doing this for other, the giving aspect rather than the getting. I’m going to let Santa be a character rather than a real person. I don’t want to lie to her about anything and pretending that she has a relationship with a man who loves her, who doesn’t really exist just doesn’t sit right with me. It can be a game we play together rather than trying to convince her of a lie.

  24. Kim Bee December 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Jackie you are an inspiration and quite honestly it is refreshing to see someone who gets the true meaning of Christmas. I think it’s admirable to volunteer and speaking your mind is never a bad thing. The cookies are adorable.

  25. MaryR December 13, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    These are so cute and your story was awesome – stumbled across the post and so glad I did – have a wonderful Christmas!

  26. Theresa December 13, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    I made these last night for a friend’s birthday and they were so cute. Thanks for the recipe

    • Jackie December 13, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      Thats so great! And Happy Birthday to your friend!

  27. Ruth December 17, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    What a great post, certainly an eye-opener. It’s very unfortunate that not every child is able to live ” the magic” of Christmas. There’s nothing that makes me sadder than seeing a child’s hopes and dreams shattered to pieces.

    Those cookies are adorable :-)

  28. Mindi December 6, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Can I use store bought cookie dough?

    • Jackie December 6, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      Of course you can :) I’ve even heard of people using Nilla wafers.

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