Disclosure: For this post, OXO sent me a lovely box of supplies for making cut-out cookies. OXO is donating $100 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer* for every blog post dedicated to this campaign during the month of September, including mine. Thank you OXO!
I got to know cancer when my brother was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia back in 1996. Though we were ever-hopeful, his story ended exactly 2 1/2 years later.
Cancer is one of those diseases that is so ubiquitous in our society that there are many rallying points. Walk-a-thons, bake sales, lemonade stands. People raising money at the grassroots level all the way up to huge corporate-sponsored fundraising, all with the goal of providing more money for more research to help find a cure.
Fortunately, the search is bolstered by success stories. Stories of people who have beaten the odds. Stories of types of cancers that are becoming more and more treatable. Knowing that a diagnosis of cancer is now about fighting for your life rather than waiting for your death. Cancer is no longer whispered about. You can't whisper an enemy away. You have to defy it.
Today I can share with you, with permission**, the story of one of my best friend's children, a little girl named Lily who, after being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of five underwent treatment for 2 1/2 years and is now fast approaching one year, post treatment. Today, Lily is happy and healthy. She loves her mom and dad. She loves her grandmother and her cats and princesses. She is taking piano lessons and gymnastics. She's a Girl Scout, and she is loving the third grade. That she is here to do and be and love is a tribute, not only to the strength and care of her family, nurses and doctors, but also to the researchers who have worked tirelessly to make these types of statistics possible:
- About 98 percent of children with ALL go into remission within weeks after starting treatment.
- About 90 percent of those children can be cured. Patients are considered cured after 10 years in remission. (St. Jude)
Lily's future is looking very bright indeed.
I do not know if OXO's initiative, Cookies for Kids' Cancer has directly impacted Lily's treatment, but in all likelihood it has. I know that the research they fund has directly helped many, many kids and families. They grant funds to five of the leading childhood cancer research facilities in the US with the goal of finding less toxic and more effective treatments. This is huge, because kids need to be as strong as possible to fight cancer, and when the treatments make you feel horrible, it's hard to fight.
This fight is a personal one for the OXO family. Cancer doesn't care who you are, or who your family is, or who they work for. So when childhood cancer struck in the OXO family, they didn't just sit back and hope for the best. They mobilized. They do great work year round, of course, but during September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, OXO is donating $.25 per sale of all their products labeled with this sticker:
This is part of OXO's pledge to donate $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer.
September is winding down, but I bet you there are a ton of OXO products that you could use and would love, so get out there and get to buying!
Since I am partnering with OXO for their Cancer Awareness Month initiative, they were kind enough to send me a kit of Cookie Items. I had three choices for the kind of kit: spritz, drop or rolled. Since I generally tend to shy away from cookies in general since they are pretty time-intensive, I decided to choose the most time and labor-intensive kind of cookie: rolled and decorated cookies. Because if you're going to make cookies for someone who has survived cancer, the least you can do is step out of your comfort zone just a bit.I asked my friend Gail, the incredibly talented and generous cookie maven from One Tough Cookie, to share a great recipe for rolled cookies, which she most kindly did (printed below). She also encouraged me in my decorating when I thought I wouldn't be able to do them justice. Thank you, Gail! I also found another from The Kitchn, Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. I made dough from each recipe, rolled them out between sheets of parchment and cut them out with my awesome new OXO cookie cutters: circles, hearts and stars. I then used the great recipe for royal icing from Sweetopia, flavoring it with a touch of almond extract and a couple of drops of orange oil.Both recipes are pretty spectacular. The shortbread Gail shared is rich, buttery and has that nothing-else-like-it crisp/crumbly bite of shortbread. The cut-out cookie recipe from The Kitchn barely spread at all, so the edges of the shapes were very crisp. I would highly recommend either recipe, although I might keep the shortbread for myself or for local giving, saving the others for shipping since they are a bit sturdier from the addition of an egg.
The decorating itself took me hours and hours. And hours. I decorated each cookie along Lily's favorite princess theme, and because no two cancers are exactly alike because no two people are exactly alike, I made sure that no two of my cookies were exactly alike either. Each is unique, just like us.
I am thrilled for my friend that her baby is happy and healthy, and I don't think that would have been possible even just ten or twenty years ago. It's all thanks to research funded from people and companies who care. Thank you, OXO, for being one of those companies.
- 2 sticks room temp butter
- ½ c superfine sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- grated zest of ½ lemon
- 2 c unbleached flour
- ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
- Beat butter, add sugar, vanilla & lemon zest & beat on med high til light & fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce mixer to low add flour & salt in 3 additions.
- Mix til combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Roll out into a rectangle & chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Cut out and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes total, rotating pans from front to back midway thru baking.
- Cool completely before decorating with your favorite icing. I used the Royal Icing Recipe from Sweetopia.net. I flavored mine with ¼ teaspoon almond extract and 3 drops of orange oil.
Even if you don't think you can decorate cookies, I encourage you to give it a try. It was worth if for the smiles alone!
Thank you for taking the time to read today. Please, before the end of September, go find and buy some OXO products labeled with this sticker and help to Bake a Difference
Both OXO and Cookies for Kids' Cancer have a strong social media presence. Please follow them on whatever platforms are your favorites:
And find all the Bake a Difference posts by searching for the hashtag #OXOGoodCookie
*Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids' Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.
**All photos of Lily taken by her Mom, Liz, and used with permission