of all the sweet wonders of the world, none send me over the edge like cookies. December is International Stuff Yourself With as Many Varieties of Cookies as You Can month. or something like that. in accordance with tradition and folklore, the making of the cookies is a sacred act wherein recipes handed down by generations of cookie bakers (or not) are baked and served alongside the newest more modern entries (or, many pounds of cookies are purchased from local bakeries). i’m pretty sure it is illegal on all 7 continents to not taste as many of these wondrous treats as possible. (okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration)
i have discovered over the years that these labor intensive bites of heaven have to be timed for maximum freshness, which poses a wee bit of a (time) problem when I’m baking 8 – 10 different kinds of cookies. and i have to show up for work (badly interferes with my cookie making time). ever efficient though, i’ve developed the art of the one bowl for all dough technique: ‘clean cookies’ get mixed first (plain butter or sugar doughs), then ‘clean’ doughs with additions (butter dough with nuts flavorings), then finally come the chocolate, coffee or other ‘dirtier’ doughs. voile! one bowl, just a wipe out in between.
and then… the baking begins. (no matter how big your kitchen, you don’t have enough counter space)
spritz, russian tea cakes and apricot bars are cookies i’ve been enjoying every christmas of my life. c and the kids love them, so now we’re on a 3rd generation (here’s hoping they continue on for many more generations). i’ve discovered that some of them don’t play well with outside audiences. (oh well, more for us) newer additions are cappuccino stars, rugelah, almond cookies, chocolate marzipan cookies, butter cookies with jelly centers and sometimes white chocolate cherry cookies. new addition this year might be a chocolate bon bon with either a walnut center or a chocolate covered almond center. (it was the chocolate covered almond center)
okay, so lately i’ve been throwing in chocolate chip cookies, but i consider them kind of bogus as christmas cookies unless there’s an interesting spin on them. (E came up with a wonderful spin by adding orange flavor) i made them like a bar cookie this year and put a layer of dark chocolate on the top.
i had a conversation with a friend recently who comes from a rich cookie heritage and she echoed my feelings about chocolate chip cookies at christmas. (and about the issue of butter, and top quality extracts and flour for the snobs among us) first time i’ve ever had a serious meeting of the cookie minds. thanks A!
there’ve been years along the way, when the kids were little, that gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies (cut with one of the 50 cookie cutters i’ve accumulated) were part of the baking marathon. i love those cookies too, but without little hands to help decorate, they’ve kind of fallen by the wayside. i look forward to the day i can bring them back.
this year’s cookie extravaganza produced 8 kinds of treats, which have now been given away or are nestled in air tight containers waiting to the kids to enjoy.
another year, another taste of family christmas.
Best Wishes to all in this season of holidays!