The Great Cookie Meltdown of 2014

I’ve had exactly two pregnancy-related freak-outs in the last 16 weeks.

The first came shortly after Thanksgiving. Freshly home from work and dying for pickles, my cliched craving of choice, I plunked down next to my husband. “I really want some of my baby pickles, but there’s a crumb in the jar,” I said slowly, then promptly burst into tears.

Big, fat, rolling-down-the-cheeks tears.

“Are you okay?” Spencer looked over suddenly, clearly alarmed. “Are you crying? Over pickles?”

“YES,” I screamed, also laughing at my known ridiculousness. The laughing/crying combination is a familiar one; I’ve come to know this strange twist of double-crossed emotions quite well.

Logically, I realize that crying over a crumb in a pickle jar is beyond silly . . . but that knowledge doesn’t stop the waterworks. Just picturing my beloved pickles with an errant bread crumb floating in the jar — thereby contaminating them, of course — was enough to send me into hysterics.

I. am. a. mess.

Once Spencer stopped laughing (kindly, of course), he went into the kitchen to fish out some “clean” pickles and returned with a bowl for me. I couldn’t stop crying long enough to eat them, moved again at his willingness to eliminate the offending bread crumb for the sake of my sanity.

In the weeks since the Pickle Incident, I’ve tried to maintain a grip on decorum. I’m going to blame hormones. My emotional responses are weird — and sometimes inappropriate. Most commonly-overheard phrase at my house? “I don’t know why I’m crying.”

And usually, I don’t.


Last weekend was to be a time of desserts and revelry. It’s Christmas! A time of joy and laughter! I attend a cookie exchange at my aunt’s house every holiday — and foolishly decided to try new recipes this year. I made plans to bake at my parents’ house with my mom, who was concocting gumdrop cookie bars, and had my ingredients ready. Get the flour and let’s roll.

Because I needed to have eight dozen (!) cookies to share on Sunday night, I decided to make four dozen of two types. About halfway into making the dough for the brown butter snickerdoodles, I realized this was going to be far more time-consuming than I’d planned.

And stressful. Can’t forget stressful.

My other variety of cookie — a rocky road-type treat with marshmallows, pecans and chocolate chips — was a recipe shared by a friend, clipped from a long-ago magazine. While the dough came together faster, the results ended up being . . . well, explosive. Literally.

Where did it all go wrong, friends? Honestly, I’m not sure. I thought I’d followed the directions closely for both recipes, but we all know that cookie-baking is a science. Where we can fudge along a bit with cakes and cupcakes, pies and trifles, cookies? Unforgiving. They don’t care if you’re tired and pregnant and nervous and stressed, you know? Cookies don’t care.

Thirty seconds can be the difference between delectable and bottom-of-a-kettle burnt.

I’m always on the wrong side of that line, it seems.

Five hours after we started, I pulled the last of the cookies from the oven. While my snickerdoodles were not photogenic, I nibbled on one and found the flavors solid.

But those rocky roads? Oh, dear.

When I say they exploded, I literally mean the marshmallows self-destructed and sent a gooey, crispy mess all over the cookie sheet (and each other). They baked at the recommended temperature for the correct amount of time — in fact, I actually pulled them early when I got wise to what was happening — but, you know . . . disaster.

“Look at this. Look!” I yelled to my husband and sister, both standing nearby with naked fear in their eyes. “I mean, this one has a HOLE IN IT.”

Katie stepped closer, peered down and gave me a sympathetic look. “It does,” she conceded.

“How does that even HAPPEN? HOW?”

Spencer grimaced. “It’s okay. I’m sure . . . they taste good,” he added limply, pushing the overcooked dough with a finger.

Unwilling to be consoled, I began to cry and gnash my teeth and froth at the mouth in a way that made the Pickle Incident look like a stroll through the park on a sunny day. After hours of cookie preparation, my results were pitiful. The rocky roads looked like freshly-destroyed cookie roadkill.

If the cookies had been for us, you know, I would have been disappointed — but ultimately gotten over the horror. But these were cookies for gifts at a holiday exchange with nice women who clearly knew what they were doing . . . and me? I’m just a cookie imposter.

An angry, emotional cookie imposter.

But you know what?

They did taste good.

Next year, new tradition: we’re lobbying for a wine and cheese social. Desserts are for the birds.

31 thoughts on “The Great Cookie Meltdown of 2014

  1. Ok… I laughed. So sorry about the cookie incident I know that is awful but glad you can write about it and it does make for great stories! 🙂 I remember my first pregnancy and prepping for Thanksgiving that first year…. I do not recall all the details but know that when I was struggling to open up that awful bag of dried stuffing to prepare it the bag split open and that crumbly hard crouton mess was all over my kitchen. I sank to the floor and bawled like a baby…. over croutons. My husband had no idea what to do. For the record… it is funny now. 🙂 Hang in there! 🙂


    • It’s okay, Sheila — I would have totally laughed at me, too. I have been ridiculous. And I would definitely have cried about the stuffing flying everywhere . . . in fact, that’s exactly the type of thing to set me off! Oh, the frustration.


  2. Um, what about doing store-bought?

    And just to warn you, the hormonal eruptions don’t stop after the baby either. Except then you’ll have a tiny person who often cries with you.

    But it WILL get better. Experienced mother’s honor. :>


    • Store-bought at a cookie exchange?! Those ladies would have run me right out of there! 🙂 I have no problem with store-bought items for most functions, that I had to take this challenge seriously.

      . . . We’ll see what I’m saying next year with a 6-month-old. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Eek, I hope so! Impatience is another beautiful side effect of pregnancy, it seems. Especially fun during the busy, chaotic holiday season. Ha! 🙂


  3. You. Are. Adorable. This definitely gave me a chuckle.

    And I’m glad that in the end everything worked out with both the pickles and the cookies. Have a wonderful Christmas! 🙂


  4. Ha! Sorry, I couldn’t help but laugh! I’ve had a different kind of hormonal reaction. I haven’t had any crying fits yet but I get irrationally angry at the littlest things. Like the Husband trying to share my blanket while we’re laying on the couch watching a movie together (“It’s MY blanket! I had it first! You ALWAYS hog the blankets so go get your own!”). Or yelling at scotch tape because it won’t hold down the Christmas wrapping paper exactly how I want it to (“You have one job – TAPE THINGS! – and you’re failing miserably you piece of crap!”). Luckily, he’s been very understanding about all the unnecessary anger. 🙂


    • This made me laugh, Stephanie — I’ve definitely had some rage-y moments, too, though they were pretty early on. Lately I just get . . . teary-eyed? Sensitive? I’d almost rather be rage-y!


  5. Well the rocky road cookies sound delicious, even if they did explode! Now I want one.

    I’ve had several breakdowns over the course of my pregnancy. The worst was when my husband spilled coffee inside my Jeep. I think he was scared for his life. I mean… I love my Jeep! I love my husband more though of course, so then I felt like a total jerk afterward. 😉

    Hang in there. I find myself all emotional and crying over everything including songs. Lol. The pregnancy will fly by though. I only have four weeks to go! Maybe we will reclaim our sanity after the babies arrive… we can only hope!


    • Eek — I would have been upset about the Jeep incident, too, Steph. I can’t believe you’re only four weeks away from meeting your little guy . . . wow, time is crazy!


  6. OMG…this truly is the funniest thing you have ever written! I had to read it to my husband and we are both in hysterics…are the baby pickles cornichons or are they just baby pickles…sweet? Sour? I truly need to know…


    • Ha! Thanks, Patty — I figured we could all get a laugh out of my nonsense.

      I actually have no less than four varieties of pickles in my fridge right now (the horseradish being my favorite — I’m doling them out for “special occasions” [which are every night, really]), but the pickles in question were sweet little baby pickles, not sliced. Just so you get the full picture. 🙂


      • I don’t know how I knew but I guessed that…do you have a Whole Foods near you? They have these great artisanal pickle spears…I can’t live without them!


    • That is my goal, Anita — just keep pluggin’ away and don’t be too hard on myself. I’ve recovered from the Cookie Incident and am determined to have a relaxing Christmas break, ha. Wish me luck! 🙂


  7. It gets better, I promise, but being an emotional mess is part of the journey to motherhood. My most major meltdown was during my first pregnancy near the end., I was eating a sandwich over my then HUGE stomach and got crumbs all over myself. I burst into tears. My husband was freaked out because he didn’t know what was wrong. When I was finally able to tell him he laughed his head off and just hugged me until I felt better. I was upset because I thought I was going to be a horrible mother because I’d gotten crumbs all over our baby. Yeah, the hormones suck, even if they are doing their job.

    Merry Christmas to you, Spencer and your baby-on-the-way.


    • Oh, dear — I can definitely see why that would get to you in pregnancy! 🙂 I’ve had all kinds of whacky thoughts that I realize are ridiculous, but what can you do. Merry Christmas, Sheery!


  8. Well, if it helps, maybe you’re just releasing pent up emotions? Like, um, STRESS, from the, um, LITTLE HUMAN THAT YOU’RE GROWING! (which, btw, is super exciting for you. and also stressful for everyone who’s ever done it, at least that I’ve met.)
    I’ve never been pregnant, but I don’t think that baby hormones make you crazy, per say. Irrational, maybe, but there are probably emotional reasons for it. Like stress. And love. And fear. And excitement. And all the things that come with a baby.
    Anywho, other people cry over spilled breadcrumbs and exploded cookies, too. Like me right after I left for college; that was a stressful time, and I may have cried over leaving some socks in the laundry room once. It can be good for you. Cathartic.
    So take care of yourself. and enjoy the exploded cookies and the holidays.


  9. LOLOL! And yes, what Kathy said. My family thinks I am completely INSANE (seriously my son has taken to telling me to go have a Xanax). At least you and I, we have reasons for the hysteria and we can laugh later. And I’ll just throw this out there…my advice would be to pay the man in as many situations as possible. As in, go buy cookies at a bakery and save yourself the work. Or get some of those refrigerated ones and add sprinkles to make them seem homemade!


  10. Ahhh hormones. So been there. I wish I could say they go away but they don’t. Not for awhile. *hugs* I’m proud of Spence. The only real way to fight hormones is with a loving patient spouse and you’ve got one of those. Hang in there mama.


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