Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - Dec 8, Cookies

Nothing makes me happier than giving tins of Christmas cookies to friends and neighbors. Having four girls in the family, there's always a helper around when it's time to spend a day baking cookies, sprinkling the sugar, placing the little decors around or taste testing. Neither of my Grandmothers were big on making Christmas cookies. I have my paternal grandmother's cookbooks - most recipes are for dinner meals and how to cook on a budget. But, my Mom? She was all about making Christmas cookies and decorating them with little intricate decorations.

While I don't have any photos of them unfortunately, some I can clearly remember. Mostly she made cookie cutter cookies - carefully assembling holly leaves with green icing and little red balls, wreaths with silver balls and little red bows, She also made angels and I think her favorites were the stained glass cookies. Mom also made miniature pecan tarts that were absolutely wonderful. Itty-bitty crusts filled with yummy sticky goodness! One of my favorite cookies that she made was her cranberry cookies which were always a staple this time of year.

With my own children we've made many different things over the years. Our favorites are Russian Tea Cakes, and little decorated spritz butter cookies made from a cookie press (pictured above) - how did I ever live without that? While they're not an intricate cookie-cutter cookie, they're yummy, easy to decorate, easy to make and come in large batches so you can make multiple designs in one batch. We also enjoy making fudge, mint bark candy, little minty snowmen (pictured here), peanut butter buck-eyes, peanut butter cookies, and lots of different breads (banana, cranberry and pumpkin). We make lots and lots of this stuff and then pack up tins or plates to share with neighbors, friends, teachers, bus drivers and the milk man.

I'm sure that all of these holiday goodies will be remembered by my own kids, but most of all the memories of cold days spent in the kitchen together making them.

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