Move over Martha Stewart, Aunt Cindi converted her kitchen into Mrs. Klaus’ workshop this week.
I got to participate in the hallow of hallowed occasions: the baking of Christmas cookies for our entire family.
We’ve got my Grandma H, my two aunts and uncles, my parents, and my four cousins. And that’s just for Christmas Eve dinner. We are all avid cookie eaters.
We made some old favorites and one coming out of retirement favorite.
The green Christmas trees are traditional spritz cookies. We use a special cookie gun from the 80s to make these. It’s intense. Aunt Cindi holds the parchment paper down and is like a cookie drill sergeant reminding me to hold it down, then lift at just the right interval of time so that the cookie comes out formed and sticks to the paper.
It’s a count of 5 for the first 3-5 cookies, then a count of 3. We fall into a rapid rhythm. My uncle watches us and I experience twinges of performance anxiety. I don’t want to ruin the holidays. But luckily, they came out great.
The powdered white cookies are Russian tea cookies with a family twist. Most of us are allergic to nuts so my aunt substitutes dried cranberries.
When they come out of the oven, it’s my job to roll them in the powdered sugar. I feel like Lucy and Ethel at the candy factory. But it’s great family fun.
Cousin A loves the cocoa balls, so we make them too. They are chocolate flavored and not sweet until you add the chocolate icing. Then they are chocolate perfection. Uncle P reminds us to save the icing because he eats it out of the bowl when we are done making them.
I love the cream cheese cookies with dabs of jam. They aren’t super sweet until you hit the jam center. The cream cheese cookie has a pie crust texture. Yummie squared. Grandma H comes in asking, “Any free samples?”
We give her a jam and cream cheese cookie. She comes back ten minutes later to tell us they need more jam. But we already finished them.
And now the retired cookie–a favorite from my childhood brought back for this holiday–the Five Alive balls!
They are made from vanilla cookies, orange juice concentrate, grated cocoa, sugar, and dried coconut. They are tropically delightful. And don’t require any baking just mix, roll, and refrigerate.
I love the citrus, chocolate and coconut flavors melding in my mouth. Best fusion ever!
I ask Grandma H if she likes orange and coconut. She says she does. I give her one and she bites into it. Christmas glow emanates from her face. “THIS IS DELICIOUS!”
At least one cookie met Grandma H’s approval. ;P
We measured, stirred, beat, mixed, rolled, frosted, and chatted for 4 hours.
I had a bit of trouble measuring the flour. I kept pushing it down and never reaching the 4 cup mark, when in reality I’d hit the 4 cup mark a while back if I hadn’t packed it down. 😦
Thank goodness Aunt Cindi was there to stir the flour and show me how much needed to be poured back into the bag.
It was like a Hallmark movie. The hours flew by with giggles and elfish glee. Fun family time and delicious creations.
What’s your favorite holiday cooking experience?