Dec 16

Nutella Pinwheel Cookies & Christmas Magic

in Chocolate, Dessert, Family, Recipes by Type

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.”  ~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

There are moments in life that I wish I could package up and save for later to re-experience over and over.  Christmastime took on a deeper meaning for me 4 years ago today.  December 16th, 2006 was a Saturday.  That morning I was at Aiiku Hospital in Tokyo, Japan.

Aiiku Hospital, Tokyo, Japan

I had been in labor with Squirrel for 24 hours when a doctor put a cell phone up to my ear. The voice on the other end was my OB/GYN, Dr. Sakamoto, telling me that something was wrong and that if we didn’t act quickly Squirrel was not going to survive. I remember not being able to respond because a nurse was slipping an oxygen mask over my face. I remember the confused and worried look on Mr. Fuji’s face as I was being wheeled out. He didn’t know yet what was going on, and with the oxygen mask over my mouth all I could do was to tell him that everything was going to be okay as they wheeled me out the door.

A few minutes later Dr. Sakamoto arrived as I was prepped for surgery. Mr. Fuji came in all dressed up in scrubs. He got to sit by my head and hold my hand. I couldn’t see anything but him because they had put the surgical guard very close to my head, so I watched him the whole time. He was awesome. He watched the whole thing and never flinched once. They quickly had Squirrel out and dangled her over my face so that I could get a glimpse of her before rushing her away to take care of her.  She was quite the impressive shade of blue and the only bit of her that I really got to see was her bum (but it was a very cute blue bum). That first little cry she made when they pulled her out was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.  I know from pictures, and from what Mr. Fuji and Fuji Nana tell me that Squirrel was putting on quite a show in the NICU. She was kicking around and trying to eat the edge of the oxygen hood.

Squirrel had personality from the beginning

I finally got to see her sweet face for the first time about 6 hours later and fell instantly in love.

Holding Baby Squirrel for the first time

Now Christmastime is a time when I am filled with gratitude for the birth of my own little Christmas miracle.

Rachael & Baby Squirrel

Christmastime is a treasure trove of special moments.  I have always loved the Christmas season, but it has taken on extra shine for me now that I have children.  Although Christmas has been fun in years past, this is the first year where I can tell that Squirrel is old enough to understand that it’s an extra special time of year.  The first time we turned off the lights in the living room and flipped the switch that lit the lights on the Christmas tree, you could see the delight on her face.  Now she she keeps running into the living room to make sure that the tree is still there, and as soon as it starts to get the least bit dark outside, she is quick to remind me that the lights need to be turned on.  Yesterday I watched her as she carefully decorated her letter to Santa asking him to bring her a pair of roller skates, her tongue sticking out one side of her mouth as she concentrated on making sure the letter was perfect.

This year we will be making careful preparations for Santa’s arrival.  Squirrel and I have been talking about making some special cookies to leave out for him with a glass of milk on Christmas Eve.  We will be making Nutella Pinwheel Cookies.  I dreamed these cookies up for the special holiday issue of GtwoKitchen, an online food magazine started recently by the talented Giulia and Genny.

GtwoKitchen Special Holiday Issue 2010

They are orange scented sugar cookies twirled around a Nutella ribbon.  They are bound to make Santa happy, as well as any little elves you might bring into the kitchen to help you make them!  You can get the recipe from the English edition (or the Italian edition!) of the Holiday Issue of GtwoKitchen on pages 16 through 19.

Nutella Pinwheel Cookies

Happy 4th Birthday to my sweet little stick of blond dynamite.  And Happy Holidays to all you, my dear readers!  May the coming days be filled with the magic of the season as we enjoy the festivities, and may we remember what is truly important in our lives—each other.

Christmas 2010 -- Fuji Family

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole December 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Mmmm…Nutella. The swirls are so pretty. Love the adorable family photo.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm

@Nicole, Thanks Nicole!


Heather (Heather's Dish) December 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm

what a beautiful story and amazing cookie to go along with it :)


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm

@Heather (Heather’s Dish), Thank you Heather!


Caroline December 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

What a wonderful story to remind us all to remember the true miracles of Christmas! I am so scared if the thought of a nutella cookie because I know I wouldn’t stop at one!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm

@Caroline, Caroline– I hear ya! This is why I will only be making these when I KNOW that I have lots of people to take them off of my hands!


Meg December 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I think you mean 4 years ago, not 2. :) Your family is just too sweet!

I tried to do it with the italian version, but realized my italian is much to rusty! HA!
These will be perfect for my cookie swap next week, thanks for sharing.

Buon Natale!


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm

@Meg, Meg — LOL, you caught me! Yes, 4 years, not 2! Can you tell that I’ve been running around all morning doing party prep? :)


jenjenk December 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm

heeeyyyy…where’s the photo of the cake??


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 16, 2010 at 4:23 pm

@jenjenk, Tuesday’s post is going to be all about her party! I wrote this before her party had happened… :)


paula bellalimento December 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Happy birthday squirrel & merry Christmas Fuji’s mwah


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm
Bren December 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I’m with Paula… happy birthday to the little one. how perfectly sweet! ;)


Fuji Mama (Rachael) December 16, 2010 at 4:21 pm

@Bren, Thank you! She’s loving that so many people are wishing her happy birthday on my blog! XOXO


Cathy/ShowFoodChef December 16, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Well, now I have tears on my computer. My kids may be older now, but you never forget the miracle they are and the day they were born. Love the cookies and the gift of your story. Merry Christmas.


Fuji Mama December 16, 2010 at 4:19 pm
kat December 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm

beautiful post! wasn’t this the hospital that the imperial family uses too?? happy holidays.


Fuji Mama December 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm

@kat, You know your trivia! Yep, Squirrel was born in the same hospital that the prince was born in about 2 months prior to her!


Sara December 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. I was intrigued from the first sentence. Sounds both scary and wonderful.

My husband is allergic to chocolate, so I don’t keep much in the house. I think I might make an exception for these. So simple, yet so goooooood.


Fran December 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Beautiful picture of the family, great story and delicious looking cookies! Thanks for sharing.


Fuji Nana December 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Awww, what little cuties. How can Santa (or Nana) resist giving them ANYTHING they want?


Chris @nestlefoodie December 16, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Happy birthday to your Squirrel! I can relate to how you were feeling four years ago… for me, it was nearly eight. We had a bit of an emergency delivery too, so everyday is extra special. Thank you for sharing your story, so sweet! And your cookie recipe looks lovely too!


Little Bo Bakes December 16, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Happy Birthday Miss Squirrel!! I hope the Snowmen were awesome! :)


Noriko December 16, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Those cookies look yummy!!

I was just in the Aiku area yesterday, and I thought about you!

Happy Birthday to your sweet little girl.


Eliane December 17, 2010 at 1:35 am

Thank you for sharing the story of Squirrel’s birth, what a precious gift ! Happy B-day Squirrel !!! Loved her pictures eating the yummy cookies !


Juls @ Juls' Kitchen December 17, 2010 at 1:37 am

Happy birthday to the little star! Happy Christmas to you and many hugs from Italy!


Sara December 17, 2010 at 9:28 am

what an amazing story! thanks for sharing! I have tears in my eyes!
happy birthday to squirell & merry xmas! xoxo


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction December 26, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Such a sweet post! And, love those cookies :) Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!


Rachel December 30, 2010 at 12:35 am

Do you happen to have the recipe with US measurements?


Barbara | Creative Culinary December 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

My first child was also born in December and reading this story took me back many years. Wow time flies; wondering if we’ll be on Twitter when she is 32? :)


bathroom February 6, 2023 at 3:08 am

Of course, what a magnificent site and enlightening posts, I surely will bookmark your website.All the Best!


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