I don't do much baking anymore. My children are grown. My husband and I don't need the extra calories. And with a full-time job and the stories I want to write, I just don't have the time.
But Christmas is the one time when I take down the dusty recipe box and pull out the old favorites behind the tab labeled "Cookies". Most of the recipes are ones I cut from magazines years ago, the paper now yellowed with age and stained with the evidence of their use.
I remember going to my grandmother's house when I was small and sampling from a dozen tins filled with at least that many different kinds of Christmas cookies. Of course, I had my favorites, like Swedish Snowballs (also called Russian Tea Cakes and probably other names depending on your nationality lol) And some I don't know the name and, like a yummy bar cookie I loved, wish I'd gotten the recipe somewhere down the line.
I've never made that many different kinds of cookies. My life, of course, is different than my grandmother's was. But it doesn't change the fact that while I've streamlined my holiday traditions over the years, Christmas wouldn't be the same without a few dozen Christmas cookies.
Now I have to admit I've gotten a bit lazy over the years. I never did have good luck with cutouts. Maybe I didn't have the patience for perfecting the rolling pin technique, and I never claimed to be a crafty cookie decorator. I stopped rolling, cutting and decorating cookies years ago. I'm down to about three kinds of cookies each year now, and I haven't even made the Swedish Snowballs in a long time.
One cookie I always make every year is my daughter's favorite, Peanut Blossoms. She'll be coming over this week to help me bake, which will make the baking much more fun. We'll be having a couple glasses of wine while we bake, but I'm sure the cookies will turn out fine :)
Another quick Christmas cookie tip I'm happy to pass along is the Christmas brownie. Bake a batch of brownies, frost them (I use milk chocolate frosting) and then sprinkle the top with red and green sugar. They look festive, taste great, and everyone loves them.
So what are your favorite Christmas cookies? Are you incredibly crafty, decorating those cut out cookies? Do your children (regardless of their age) like to help? Do you bake dozens or don't you bake them at all?
You know, I think I'm going to bake those Snowballs this year. Maybe my daughter will help with those too.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!