We’re in Dallas with the Grandangels, who have kept me so busy that I haven’t had time to even think about blogging. Our youngest grandson, who is now 5, loves to help ‘Granny’ cook, so we busied ourselves two days before Christmas making sugar cookie dough. A half-recipe’s worth from Mark Bittman’s fabulous (must have) cookbook, How To Cook Everything.

Yes, it was the real thing, not a low-carb adaptation. It’s Christmas, after all, and only comes once a year! What better time for a little stumble into the honey tree, I ask you?

Then we painted them, as has been my family’s custom for many, many years, with slightly thinned, tinted buttercream frosting.

Yes, it was real, too.

Will, the grandangel, painted the base coat of frosting on every cookie but one (his brother did that one, under duress to quit watching Frosty the Snowman long enough to at least do one cookie to give to Santa). Granny (that would be moi) painted the details and a bit of ‘repair work’.

And we put them out on our DIL’s family Christmas plate and saved them for Christmas Eve.

I figure if you’re going to eat the real thing, the rules (for me at least) are to use top quality ingredients, to make a limited number of cookies, to wait until the evening’s celebration to start eating them, and to share them with a lot of people. That way you can’t do yourself too much damage.

We’ll be here for another few days, during which I expect to be kept equally busy, and then back home, where we’re planning the Eades’ New Year’s Eve dinner. I’ll post on the big dinner, complete with photos, January 1st…or 2nd.

In the meantime, have a safe, happy, healthy and pleasurable New Year!


  1. Those look delicious. I too make various Christmas cookies using “real” ingredients, but next year I’m going to take your advice to make a smaller amount. Nearly all recipes can easily be cut in half, and then there aren’t so many tempting cookies sitting around for days and days.

    I have a new grandangel myself — my first, born in mid-November. She is definitely the best granddaughter ever, and there is definitely something wonderful and different about grandchildren (as compared with children and other people’s children or grandchildren). She won’t be old enough to decorate cookies with me for some time, but I know we’ll do that and it will be fun.

    I’ll take a look at that cookbook — I love good cookbooks! Thanks for the post. –Anne

  2. Wow- Those look delightful! I skipped them this year because I had just od’ed on my other favorite, what my siblings and I called “doo-doo cookies” as kids- you know the ones: chocolate oatmeal peanut butter boiled drop cookies? Yikes. Now I have laryngitis and I swear it’s a result of injesting so much sugar (2 cups!) in a two day period. My body was entering seriously inflamed mode as I pushed on through the Christmas marathon of an obstacle course that is our family schedule, visiting and laughing and redirecting my 4 year old till my vocal chords finally gave in! Now I am home eating garlic and walnuts trying to cleanse my system! Any other suggestions? I began reading your book way back when… 1995? and became a huge fan. I have veered on and off the plan and am ready to get back on as I am unfortunately experiencing what happens when I don’t work it! Can you talk about fungus or fungal infection related to diet? I am guessing that if I get back to Protein Power living, the repeat Respiratory Infections will cease. I have been surfing the net for good info and although there definitely seem to be some experts out there, trust your experience/wisdom. Thanks! Sara

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Sugar OD will whap your immune system and make you vulnerable to all manner of infections, both of the acute variety (laryngitis) and the chronic variety (fungus/yeast). Getting back to an eating regimen more in sync with human biochemistry and physiology (ie Protein Power) will go a long way to bolstering resistance to every bug that passes by. There’s also a wide body of research to suggest that, especially in winter, vitamin D3 in pretty hefty doses, is an important immune enhancing nutrient. Mike blogged on that topic a while back, so go search his blog archive for ‘vitamin D’ and you can read up on it.

  3. They’re *beautiful*!

    This holiday season, I’ve been wondering how one goes about “decarbing” recipes for baked goods–mostly with respect to the flour. There is one in particular that represents my family’s only holiday tradition, and while I fully appreciate the honey tree concept, I always have a really difficult time getting back on the low carb wagon afterwards (and thus figure it is better to go without).

    Happy holidays!
    COMMENT from MD EADES: Depends on the recipe, for sure, but in most cases, you can immediately drop the carb content by almost half just by substituting fine almond flour for half the regular flour. You might also look into using coconut flour for half of the other half of the flour (so now your flour is down to 1/4 of the original recipe). When you cook with coconut flour, however, you have to add a fair amount of water (it’s quite hygroscopic) with the usual starting place adding an additional egg for every ounce of coconut flour you’re using (so 1 egg for every 1/4 cup) and adding an amount of water or other liquid equal to the amount of flour you’ve taken out. Adapting takes a lot of trial and error to get it right, but once you’ve got it, especially for a holiday tradition, you’ll be able to enjoy it year after year. You might also pick up a copy of Ursula Solom’s Low Carb Baking Cookbook. She was our co-author on the Low Carb Comfort Foods Cookbook and did all the baking recipes in it. Between the two books, you might find a recipe, already adapted, that would be very similar to your family’s holiday tradition. Good luck!

  4. They are so cute!!

    Granny huh? You don’t look like a “Granny”! I’m going to be Nana….LOL I still have a few more years I think (DD is 25 and engaged..and yes, I’ve already “claimed” the title! ).

    Looking forward to the pics of New Years Eve dinner!

  5. Hi Dr Mary Dan,

    Those have GOT to be the prettiest cookies I have ever seen!

    I do have two questions:

    Who makes those gorgeous Christmas dishes (shown in Dr Mike’s latest blog) and what is the name of the pattern??? If you don’t mind? I was going to ask him…but then I thought better of it!

    They are simply beautiful. Thanks!

    COMMENT from MD EADES: Thanks, yourself, for the kind words about the cookies. It’s a bit of a challenge to follow up the (very good for his age) work of a 5 year old angel, but worth the effort, since he, too, was very very proud of his contribution to the beautiful cookies. And someday, he’ll pay it forward to carry on the tradition with his own angels and grandangels. As to the china, it’s Tiffany’s Holiday pattern. We have always loved it and our very kind agents gifted us with a full service of it one year, for which I thank them every time we sit down to eat on it during the holidays.

  6. Thank you so much for the decarbing suggestions, including the book you suggested!

    You’re one hundred percent correct: the trial and error will be worth it if I can get this figured out. I’m going to work on a smaller scale, perhaps one quarter or one eighth of a recipe.

    I’m greatly enjoying your description of your New Years Eve dinner. You sure do know how to entertain!

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