merry polar bear cookies to you!


illustration by Ilon Wikland from Christmas in Noisy Village

Today I’m revisiting a post I wrote seven years ago, full of cookies and mayhem. Then I’ll sign out until after the holidays. My kids are coming home and I’m looking forward to this time together, precious beyond words.

Coming up in January I’ll have the 3rd Annual Orange Marmalade Juicies! Plus great new titles for MLK Day, books about and for babies, a look at one favorite Swedish author, and lots more great reads!

You will notice some changes in the look of the blog going forward. I have outgrown the package I currently use on WordPress. I can’t import a single new picture (yikes!) until I upgrade to a bigger and better blog package. I am quite sure there will be some hiccups with that including weird formatting on archived posts. I appreciate your patience while I try to get this all figured out. Technological prowess is not one of my strong suits!

When my kids were smaller, we often baked up small platefuls of goodies to give to friends at Christmastime, including these polar bear cookies — so cute and jolly!  Perhaps some young bakers you know would also enjoy mixing these up.  While the dough is in the fridge, you could read a story about another attempt at baking cookies for a Christmas gift —  one of my kids’ early favorites.

Cinnamon Polar Bears

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
powdered sugar
apx. 1 tablespoon miniature chocolate chips
48 red cinnamon candies

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat well.  Add flour and cinnamon and blend well.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate about an hour for easier handling.

Divide the dough into 48 lumps. One lump per bear.  Out of each lump, you will make one big ball (1-inch) and 3 small balls (1/4 inch).

Put the 1″ ball on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten it slightly — with your hand or a small glass.  Set two of the small balls above the head but touching it, to form the ears.  Put the other small ball on top of the cookie as the bear’s snout.  Flatten this one slightly. Use the photo above as a guide. Keep making bears, setting the cookies a couple inches apart on the cookie sheets.

Bake @ 350 ° for 11-15 minutes, until firm.  Immediately remove from cookie sheets.  Dust lightly with powdered sugar, and while they’re still warm set two mini chocolate chips in place as eyes, and one cinnamon red hot candy on the snout for his nose.  Ta da!


Arthur’s Christmas Cookies words and pictures by Lillian Hoban
originally published in 1972; reissued by Harpercollins 1984

These are not the Arthur-and-DW characters created by Marc Brown.  This is Lillian Hoban’s Arthur and his little sister Violet, introduced to us 45 years ago.

 Arthur and Violet are busy making Christmas gifts for the family and Arthur has decided to bake cookies in Violet’s Bake-E-Z oven to give to his parents.  When a couple of friends drop by, eager to help, things get a tad chaotic much to Arthur’s dismay.

When the cookies have baked and it’s tasting time, Arthur realizes something has gone terribly wrong.  He’s added a whopping amount of salt instead of sugar and the result is a mess of hard-as-rock, inedible disasters.

  Fear not, though. After a nice cup of hot chocolate and a good think, Arthur comes up with a great way to make those nasty cookies into dandy Christmas gifts!

We have loved this story over the years.  Great little read aloud for preschoolers, but easy enough for an advanced-beginner reader to read independently as well.

Happy baking and reading!