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Your Beautifully Decorated Christmas Cookies Taste Like Shit

Sugar cookies aren’t any good to begin with. Somehow, though, they’re even worse when lacquered with festive frosting

Oh, you thought our Thanksgiving op-eds were bad? Gird your stockings for the least wonderful time of the year, when the merry gentlepeople of MEL attempt to outdo one another with the most heinous holiday takes we can unwrap. We can already feel the angry tweets nipping at our noses.

The world of cookies is a literal smorgasbord, ranging from crisp gingersnaps to thick, gooey triple chocolate. There’s a cookie for basically every sweet and spice on the spectrum — a cookie for every palate, in other words.

So why on Earth are we still eating sugar cookies?

In its naked form, the sugar cookie is the adjective “milquetoast” come to life. Behold, a chunk of beige that tastes vaguely of, ermm, a tiny bit of vanilla and a whole lot of white sugar! Even when made to perfection at home — with a crisp edge and chewy interior — it tastes like an incomplete recipe. (More often than not, they’re overbaked, so.) You don’t see a sugar cookie from across a holiday party and think, Huh, that’s really intriguing. It’s just something that sits there, waiting to be eaten once you’re drunk and looking for a discreet second dessert. 

Somehow, it’s even worse when the sugar cookie is lacquered with cheap frosting. Listen, I understand that decorating sugar cookies is a fun project for young kids and elders alike. But folks, those cans of shelf-stable green and red frosting you picked up at the supermarket is mediocre crap made with vegetable shortening and copious doses of bitter-tasting food dye. Yes, they’re called sugar cookies, and yes, I too have a blast making edible Christmas trees. Still, don’t we deserve something better than a dull confection overwhelmed by 2D sweetness? I’m pretty sure throwing sprinkles on this mess constitutes a culinary war crime. 

Amid the doldrums of 2020, I declare that we can do better — nay, must do better. We ought to think less about tradition and more about what real pleasure is. You’ve been seduced by the nostalgic feelings that the bland sugar cookie promises. As someone who never grew up enjoying them, let me be your Morpheus, offering a red cookie and a chance to overcome artifice. Life is too damn short to suffer through another shitty empty calorie — even if your cute niece made it. 

Besides, getting rid of sugar cookies doesn’t mean that you can’t gather in the kitchen for an edible DIY project. You can have all that bonding while making some snickerdoodles or gingersnaps or any other cookie that has substantive flavor. Go all out and top them with homemade cream-cheese frosting instead of a can of Duncan Hines. Revolutionary stuff, I know, but the results speak for themselves. 

Plenty of people already agree that these pale, sad cutouts represent one of the laziest and least-tasty tropes of Christmas. This holiday season, it’s time to spread the gospel: Hark, the herald angels sing! Sugar cookies shouldn’t be a thing! 

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