Warning! This post is super long. You will get an amazing cookie recipe though.
Christmas really is one of the most wonderful times of the year. And nothing is more splendid than a beautiful live Christmas Tree, right?
That’s what I thought up until few weeks ago. Remember that post on Marshmallow Stuffed Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies? The one where I talked about how excited I was for Christmas. Well that was before we brought home the Christmas Tree from hell.
Let’s start at the beginning shall we… The weekend after Thanksgiving we went with my husband’s family to a local farm to pick out a Christmas tree. The trip had a rocky start – we were supposed to leave at 2:00pm, but due to an incident at Best Buy, we didn’t leave until close to 4:00pm. It gets dark here at around 5 so the pressure was on to find a tree and quick.
We get to the farm and fell in love with literally the first tree we saw. It was perfect! Not too tall, not to thin, and no bare spots. We cut it down, bought it, put it in the car, and celebrated with a cup of hot apple cider. It was the quickest, most stress-free tree buying experience I’ve ever had.
The next day we got the tree up and decorated it. I tied our fluffy tree skirt around the bottom and added some presents. It was beautiful! The tree fit perfectly in the corner of our living room, it was like it was meant to be.
So I know what you’re thinking now “This all seems good… How is this tree from hell?” or maybe you’re thinking: “When the heck is she going to talk about those delicious looking cookies?” or maybe you have just skipped to the bottom already, printed the recipe off, and now you’re off drinking hot cider without a care in the world about my tree. I don’t blame you hot cider is delicious and this tree is evil….
Let’s get back to the story. A day after putting up the tree we remembered that trees need water… I know – I starved it – it’s no wonder it hates me. But it was just a day guys don’t get all Plant a Tree Foundation on me.
The problem with watering the tree is that the branches are super low. It was actually hard to fit any presents under it let alone water it. So why didn’t we just cut off some of the lower branches – that’s the logical thing to do. The hubby was convinced that doing that would mess up the tree. It was the perfect shape guys! It wouldn’t look as pretty if we cut the branches…
This conundrum lead us to the magical device known as the “Tree Nanny”. Tree nanny is a funnel connected to a long tube that you use to water your tree. Never get on the ground, move presents, or hoist up branches again! Simply place the funnel in an inconspicuous spot within the tree and place the connecting tube into the tree base. It even comes with an little device that plays Jingle Bells when the tree needs watering and chimes when you have put enough water in. How Cute! – or so we thought…..
First off, that device never played Jingle Bells. But that was okay considering the main reason we purchased it was for the funnel-tube watering thing. Hubby was in charge of watering. He deduced that our tree needed three pink water bottles full each day (a very scientific amount).
One day while hubby was at work, the tree nanny started making a weird noise. Was it actually working? It didn’t sound like Jingle Bells though… maybe like a dying cat trying to sing Jingle Bells…
I decided to try watering the tree to see if that would make it stop. So I poured in three pink water bottles full and waited. The noise didn’t stop. Disgruntled, I got down and started moving presents and hoisting up branches to see what was going on (thanks a lot Tree Nanny, I thought I would never have to do this again…) When the first present I moved made a squish noise I realized I had bigger problems than wailing Jingle Bells.
The hose that goes from the funnel to the tree base was no longer in the tree base. I had just poured water all over my floor and presents.
Tree: 1 Sarah: 0
A few expletives might have been said.
The good news is that only a few presents got wet. And those that did, didn’t get ruined. But clean-up was massive. All the presents had to be moved. The fuzzy tree skirt (that now looked like a drowned rat) had to be washed, and a million pine needles had to be vacuumed. Oh, and don’t forget – the branches are still super low making this whole process even more annoying.
Side note: Don’t use a hair dryer to dry carpet under a Christmas Tree. Pine needles will fall into the vents and cause a weird burning smell…
It ended up taking several days for the carpet to dry. I placed the newly washed and fluffy tree skirt under the tree again and moved back all of the presents.
All was good for about a week. Then for some reason the tree decided to go on a hunger strike. Why? Probably just to make me go insane. It just stopped drinking water and those low branches suddenly got lower. Let’s be real, they are just resting on top of the presents at this point.
Here is some fun tree trivia: Did you know that once an evergreen tree gets cut it immediately starts producing sap? That sap will harden around the cut and make it impossible for the tree to get any water. The tree effectively tries to commit suicide. The solution? As soon as you cut your tree IMMEDIATELY put it in water. If your tree isn’t drinking water, just cut more off the bottom and place in fresh water.
Great tip right? Just cut some more off the bottom. Awesome – except for the fact that the tree is completely decorated!
Tree: 2 Sarah: 0
Moving the presents, undecorating the tree, pulling it down, cutting off the bottom, putting it back up, re-decorating, and putting the presents back just didn’t seem realistic. So we choose option B: drilling holes in the tree.
Tree: 2 Sarah: 1
Take that tree! Using hubby’s power drill with the largest drill bit, we put several holes into the base of the tree. Reluctantly, the tree began drinking again.
Fast forward to last night and these amazing Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies. (See I told you I’d get to them)
I wanted to bring Christmas treats into work for all of my colleagues. We don’t exchange gifts so this is my small way spreading Christmas joy through the office. I decided to make these cookies because:
A. There so festive! The bright red just screams Christmas.
B. They are super soft and chewy and DELICIOUS
C. Who doesn’t love red velvet cake or cheesecake?
I knew my night was going to be pretty busy. After work I would have to stop at the store to get a couple of last minute ingredients, then I’d come home, make dinner, make the cookies, and check on the dang tree.
It’s a good thing these cookies are so simple because (you guessed it) more tree drama occurred.
But let’s talk about these cookies first, because they really are a star. [Get it?? 🙂 ]
They are super easy to make and use boxed red velvet cake mix.
I prefer to use boxed cake mix for red velvet cakes because it is really hard to get it that vibrant red from scratch. You need to use A LOT of red dye and that stuff is expensive. There is no shame in using the boxed stuff, it both cheaper and easier and that’s a win in my book.
To make these cookies just mix together your cake mix, a stick of melted butter, and two eggs. Scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet and use your thumb to make an indentation in the middle. Then put them in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your cheesecake filling. Just blend together cream cheese, an egg yolk, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
After the cookies have baked for five minutes, pull them out and use a spoon to make the indentations again. Fill each cookie with about a teaspoon of filling, then put them back in the oven to bake for another 5 minutes or until both the cookies and cheesecake are cooked all the way though.
My colleagues loved them. They were a huge hit, one woman shamefully told me she ate 5. She said she wanted to bring one home to her husband but she knew it would never last the entire trip.
You have to make these things guys!
Okay, so now you’re like “who cares about cookies, what happened with the tree?” They call that bait and switch.
Sooooo after I finished making these wonderful red velvet gems I went to check on the tree. And guess what? Gandhi decided to go on another hunger strike. You know how I found this out? By adding more water and having it overflow all over the presents again.
Tree: 3 Sarah: 1
So again – I had to move all the presents, fix the ones that got wet, wash the tree skirt, and vacuum up millions of pine needles. When hubby got home he added more holes. Now the tree is like a giant Jenga game. I’m afraid one more hole and the tree will come toppling over.
Tree: ?? Sarah: -1
There is one more week to Christmas. I’m praying that the tree will last that long. But at least I have cookies. Delicious, soft, red velvet, cheesecake cookies. They make everything better.
- 1 box Red Velvet Cake mix
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Mix cake mix, butter, and eggs together until combined.
- Scoop tablespoon sized balls onto a greased cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of the ball of dough.
- To make filling: beat the cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
- Bake for 5 minutes or until the cookie just start to set. Remove from the oven and use a spoon to deepen the indentation.
- Fill each cookie with about a teaspoon of cheesecake filling. Return cookies to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheesecake has set.