31 comments

Dec 09, 2020

Christmas Teens & Young Adult Fiction

When Grandma fell and broke her leg, my family rushed to help her. What did she need from her house now that she was living with her mother in a one-story home? Did she want us to take care of her heating and electric bills? Did she want Dad and Uncle Justin to move her laundry machine from the basement to the ground floor? The questions continued as such, with the adults wondering what they could do. However, my siblings and my cousins wanted to help, too. 

 So, when my younger brother asked Grandma, “What about your Christmas cookies? How will you make them this year?” she told him that he could bake them with his sister and cousins for her. The five of us jumped on the idea and scheduled a time for us to bake these cookies.  

🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪 

On Saturday, December 12, we met in Grandma’s kitchen to bake her cookies. She called us and said that she should have all the ingredients in her pantry and fridge. The recipe was in her favorite recipe book. While my brother, Joseph, and my cousin, Joanna, looked for her recipe book and my cousin Maddi tried to preheat the oven, Liam and I looked for her cookie cutters, which my grandma swore were in the basement. It took a few minutes, but we found the cookie cutters and brought them upstairs. Maddi had preheated the oven, an amazing feat for a ten-year-old. However, even with Maddi helping, my brother and Joanna still couldn’t find the recipe book.  

“I think we will have to just bake from memory, guys,” Joanna said. “It’s okay. Alyssa and Liam, you have made these cookies with her before, right?” 

I replied uncertainly, “Um, yeah, I have, but never alone. And we had the recipe book.” 

“Well, it can’t be too hard, right? Sugar, and flour!” Joseph declared, like any other eight-year-old would.  

“We need more than that, Joseph! We will also need butter, baking soda (or is it powder?), and most likely an egg or two.” Liam told him. Liam loved to bake and was twelve.  

As the oldest and the babysitter, I felt I should step in before they started an argument. “Okay! We have some options. We can look up a recipe on my phone-” 

“No, then they aren’t Grandma’s cookies!” Maddi protested.  

I continued, “We could call Grandma and ask for the recipe-” 

Joanna interrupted me. “Let’s do that!” 

“Or we could bake from memory.” I paused, waiting for someone to interrupt. When no one did, I said, “I agree with Joanna, we should call Grandma and see if she can tell us where the recipe is.” 

Everyone nodded, and five seconds later Grandma’s face was on my phone screen. “Hey guys!” she greeted us.  

“Hi! How are you feeling?” I asked. 

“Much better. I can’t wait for those cookies!” 

Liam started, “About the cookies-” 

“We can’t find the recipe!” Joseph shouted. 

“Oh, I could have sworn I left it in the recipe book... is it in with the cookie cutters?” We all shook our heads. “Hmm. Where is that recipe? Oh, I know! Check the other recipe folder- the yellow one.” There was a pause where she seemed to be listening to something or someone on her end. “Sorry, guys, lunch is here! I’ll talk to you later!” With, that, she ended the call.  

“Here is the yellow folder,” Maddi said from behind me. “There’s nothing in it.” 

“Why is it labeled ‘coffee’? Are there any other yellow folders?” I asked. 

“No, this is the only one. The only folder and the only yellow folder.” 

“Darn it!” Joanna replied to her sister’s response. 

Liam added, “I guess we will have to try this from memory. What do you think we need? I know we need sugar, eggs, and baking soda or powder.” 

“Butter!” 

“Vanilla extract!” 

We gathered the ingredients and guessed about how much of each we would need. We decided to put in 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 cups of sugar, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ cup milk, and 1 cup of butter. We measured the ingredients and put it in the oven, even though it wasn’t quite as thick as batter was supposed to be. This made cutting out shapes more difficult, but we managed. 10 minutes in the oven, and the cookies didn’t rise. They burned. We looked at the list of ingredients, and it was a few minutes before we remembered what we missed. 

“The flour! I told you we need the flour!” Joseph announced. We all looked at the list, and realized what Joseph said was true: we forgot the flour.  

“We should call Grandma again; maybe she has the recipe now,” Maddi suggested.  

I unlocked my phone and called her, putting her on speaker. “Hello again! How was your lunch?” I inquired. 

“Hey, Alyssa, Liam, Joanna, Maddi, and Joseph! Lunch was delicious! I'm sure the cookies are just as good!” We all glanced at the tray, which would probably have burned cookies stuck on it for the next century.  

Joanna said hesitatingly, “Well, we still couldn’t find the recipe. So, we tried to bake from memory. Let’s just say it didn’t work.” 

“Oh no! The recipe wasn’t in the folder? You could check the bookshelf in the living room. It might be on there.” Liam rushed out of the room to look.  

Before we could say anything else, Grandma said, “Bye guys! Have fun and I love you!” and then hung up. Again.  

Liam came back empty-handed. “There’s no recipe book, folder, or paper on the bookshelf. Does she even have a recipe?”  

“Well, I guess we will try again. With flour this time,” Joseph commented.  

“Good idea,” Joanna agreed.  

🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪 

We tried again. So, after adding the same amounts of ingredients as last time (this time with 2 ½ cups flour), we baked cookies. This time, the cookies looked like cookies.  

“We should try them. You know, to make sure we didn’t mess them up,” Joseph suggested. Probably he just wanted to eat a cookie.  

I looked at Liam, who shrugged. “Why not?” he said. We all grabbed a cookie and bit into it. We all promptly made a face.  

“These taste... interesting,” Liam observed. 

“No, they are disgusting!” was my brother’s less polite way of phrasing. “What happened?” 

“Well, Grandma hasn’t been home in a while. Maybe some of her food spoiled?” I suggested. “Let’s look at the milk.” 

We looked at the milk to discover that it had indeed spoiled. Liam commented, “I don’t remember adding milk to her cookies.” 

I thought about that and replied, “Now that you say it, I don’t either. Let’s just throw the milk away and use the recipe we made. We can see what happens.” 

“Should we call Grandma to see if she knows where the recipe is yet?” Maddi asked.  

“I think we can do it this time. What do you guys think?” 

“Third time’s the charm!” Joanna shouted. 

“We got this!” Joseph added.  

🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪 

This time, we added the same amount of ingredients, making sure nothing had expired and that all the ingredients were in the batter before baking them. We took them out of the oven, and they looked perfect. However, the real test was the taste. We took a bite, and they were not bad. They were delicious!  

"Now we just have to get the icing right.” I commented. 

“No, we don’t,” Maddi said. “We can just use the icing recipe on the back of the powdered sugar. That’s what Grandma does, I think.” 

“I second that. We don’t have time to make three batches of icing.” Liam answered.  

We found the recipe from the powdered sugar and made some icing for it. The icing turned out perfect, and we put it on the cookies.  Joanna found sprinkles in the pantry, and I melted some chocolate chips in the microwave so we could drizzle it on top.  

We were about to call Grandma and tell her the cookies were done when she called me. 

“Guess what I found!” she announced.  

“What?” Joseph asked excitedly.  

“The recipe for the cookies! It was saved in my phone!” 

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31 comments

Janey Finch
22:00 Jan 23, 2021

Wow! I loved that and the fact that the recipe was on the grandma's PHONE was hilarious! One small thing, in this sentence, "Probably he just wanted to eat a cookie. " I think it might be stronger if you wrote it like this, "He obviously just wanted a cookie." But that's just personal preference so up to you! Also, I just posted a new story, it would be great if you could give me some critiques! :) Be prepared though, it's definitely a different genre than my first story...

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22:18 Jan 23, 2021

Of course, I’ll look right now!! Thank you, Janey, for catching that! Now that you say that, it does sound way better to rephrase it. Unfortunately, it won’t let me edit the story anymore. But I will definitely fix it on the word document!! :)

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Janey Finch
02:19 Jan 24, 2021

Haha no problem, I'm glad you liked it! And gotcha! :)

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13:16 Dec 20, 2020

Hi Katie! I've posted my next story. Would you give it a read when you are free and let me know what you felt about it? :)

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14:20 Dec 20, 2020

Of course, Akshaya!!!

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Mary Kate
17:18 Dec 17, 2020

A great twist (i.e. it is surprising yet has a sense of inevitability)- I didn't see it coming in that it was on the Grandmother's phone! It was quite a lot of characters to introduce at once but I managed to keep them apart in my head, having different letters for the start of each name (as you have done for nearly all of them except for the J's) helps with this. It is great to break stereotypes and have a phone savvy Grandma. Well done.

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17:21 Dec 17, 2020

Thank you, Mary Kate, for leaving a kind and thoughtful comment!! :) edit: okay, I have no idea why that commented like 6 times. I am not tech savvy :P

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07:37 Dec 16, 2020

Hi Katie! I loved this story of yours as well! It was short, cute and funny! The whole cooking with siblings/ friends is a great experience indeed! Just a suggestion...maybe you could add a few scenes where the family members try out the cookies (all the batches :P) or for one of the cousins to be a bit afraid to be the guinea pig? You know, something like that to add more humor maybe? I thoroughly enjoyed this read, Katie and do ping me when you when you have posted another story! Happy writing! P.S. I just realized, you ...

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11:42 Dec 16, 2020

OH NO I didn’t!! Oops. You’re right; the golden totally slipped my mind. The submission has been approved though, and now I can’t edit it :( Thank you for reading!! I am glad you liked it and grateful for your feedback!!

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15:15 Dec 16, 2020

That's alright! I still liked every bit of this story! My pleasure! :)

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A.G. Scott
21:01 Dec 09, 2020

Likes: This is a nice, evocative little vignette. You can sense your joy and love for the characters. Dislikes/How You Could Improve: This is relatively simple and straightforward, almost like a stream of consciousness, and there's not much tension. In my mind, you have two options for improvement. 1) Add stronger plot points -- for example, maybe they set something on fire and have to put it out, or they run out of a key ingredient and find a replacement. Things like these would raise the stakes. 2) Be more descriptive -- use imagery to ...

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22:01 Dec 09, 2020

Yes, that is helpful!! This story was meant to be a quick and easy read, but I agree, there was something missing. I agree with you that adding stronger plot points could make it more interesting... I usually struggle with writing descriptions. Do you have any ideas on how I can improve that part of my writing?

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A.G. Scott
22:08 Dec 09, 2020

I'm pretty sure the most common advice (and therefore probably the truest) is that you should think about the five senses. Describe the things that stand out most in your mind -- a peculiar image, a lovely smell, a jarring sound, the feel of a thing between your fingers. Also, your descriptions should emphasize the mood of the story - so for something scary, you'd focus on sharp edges and darkness, etc., whereas in a happy story you'd focus on things you like. From there, you could make your descriptions even more interesting by using metaph...

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22:10 Dec 09, 2020

Thank you :) I appreciate it!!!

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The dialogue in this story really carries the characters and their different personalities. It's entertaining to see them collide. The sibling relationships make me believe these are real people.

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15:16 Mar 30, 2021

Haha thank you so much for leaving a comment!! I actually based the relationships between the kids on my actual family when we were younger. :) I probably had way too much fun trying to find names for my characters that are similar (but not too similar) to my family’s names. Are there any stories of yours that you would like me to read?

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You're under no obligation, but I posted a story earlier today called "A sense Of Humor". Thank you in advance.

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15:29 Mar 30, 2021

Awesome! I will read it later (I may or may not be in class right now) :)

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17:09 Feb 18, 2021

PART 4 IS OUT!

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Sheila Payne
20:03 Dec 20, 2020

This was very good too, I wrote my story from this same prompt. I like how you had the kids do it. It showed teamwork and problem solving, fantastic..

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21:20 Dec 20, 2020

Thank you Sheila!!

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Mandi R. Haqq
23:05 Dec 14, 2020

I loved the ending and the cookie spacers brought a smile to my face. I agree with the suggestions below about stretching out the pace with some tension, but I enjoyed the quick read and I gave it a like. Kudos!

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K. Antonio
17:09 Dec 12, 2020

Alright here I go. I thought the story was cute, I liked the interaction between everyone, how they all had some sort of voice. I liked that it was essentially an easy read. I really liked how the dialogue is a bit childish and how we are actually able to get a sense of the characters personas. What I think needs to be improved here is the plot, the story is pretty simple and direct. I think to really build a strong story you could include some sort of struggle (it doesn't need to be hardship), something as easy as a fight between th...

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17:33 Dec 12, 2020

Yes, thank you, it was very helpful! I am glad you liked the characters :) I intended this to be an easy and quick read, but I agree that there is something missing. Thank you for ideas about the plot! Exactly the kind of helpful critique I am looking for. I will take a look at one of your stories right now!

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Ant Man 🐜
22:45 Dec 09, 2020

This is great, Katie! I love your cookie spacers and how their grandma had the recipe the whole time! It gave it a little bit of a humorous twist!

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23:26 Dec 09, 2020

Thank you, Katelyn!!

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Ant Man 🐜
14:03 Dec 11, 2020

Anytime!

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19:38 Dec 09, 2020

Hey guys! I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to leave a comment, saying what you liked and disliked, maybe how I could improve. Telling me what you think really helps me improve my writing. And, if you leave a comment, I will read one of your stories and give you feedback on it, too.

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Arwen Dove
05:13 Mar 23, 2021

Love this!

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Kendi Karimi
08:37 May 05, 2021

The ending, haha. Looooooooove it. You have a unique story telling voice and I'm happy I found your stories. Can't wait to read more of your current and future submissions. ❤️ Really wonderful work here. 🤗💯

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10:56 May 05, 2021

Thank you SOOO much! Your comment really made my day. ❤️ I’m not sure when I will be submitting a new story because I’m currently working on a novel (the link to the first few chapters is actually in my bio, if you’re interested 😁), but who knows? Maybe I’ll be inspired by the prompts on Friday... 😁

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