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My Blog

Christmas Cookies for the Giving

Good Afternoon to all my readers out there.  I hope that even though it is a dreary day here in the Chicago land area, you are doing well.  As for me, I found time this morning before the rain to get outdoors and decorate the house for the holidays.  I have now joined the crowd with lights that will make the home look more inviting.  I have more decorating to do...but it has officially begun here. 
I went to shopping and while I was out, I began to think of the tradition of Christmas cookies.  My family is moving over the holidays and won't arrive until Dec. 23rd.  That is surely not a lot of time to make for a festive Christmas.  I began thinking of ways that I can perhaps do something that will help to make the day special for them all...especially the children.  I have purchased some small gifts and mostly their gifts this year will be Gift Certificates.  I hate doing that, but this year there isn't much choice in the matter.  So I began to think about cookies and the childrens favorites.  I decided I will start my Christmas cookie baking and include them with some other small surprizes for them and over night the box. 
When I began thinking of baking cookies...it really transported me back in time.  It was the one thing I must say that I looked forward to all year!  I would usually go on a cookie baking marathon.  I would bake for a week straight.  Just me, the ingredients, Bing Crosby and Barbara Streisand in the kitchen.  I truly enjoyed all the baking and the decorating that came along with it.  The special recipes that were at the top of the list.  My favorite all time recipe was for my Grandmother's Kolacky.  There are so many recipe's out there for Kolacky....but Gram's was always my favorite.  It took a lot of more work than the average cookie...and then there was Gram's and my secret tip to making them.  They never looked like the ones that you may be used to seeing.  I rolled the dough out thin like a sheet of paper.  Cut it into triangles, filled them with the fillings and rolled them up like a crescent roll and curved them on the cookie sheet.  After they were baked and cooled they were dusted with loads of powdered sugar.  They literally melted in you mouth.  I haven't made those cookies since my daughter left us 17 years ago.  they were her favorite cookie and I just couldn't bring myself to make them.  But this year, I have decided I can no longer wait for her return for me to make the cookies.  I want to share them with all of those I love and time slips away too fast.  Perhaps the smell of those delightful tidbits will bring her home. 
Through the years when my mother was alive and working for a perfume company, she always volunteered to bring in trays of cookies...which meant....I would making them.  But to tell you the truth, I never minded.  I makes thousands of cookies each year and found great delight making pleasing arrangements on the tray.  Another of my very favorite recipes is for a butter cookie.  My mother used to have this lovely lady work for her and do her baking when my mom ran the counter at Woolworths years ago.  Her name was Ms. Violet.  She used to work in a bakery and had this marvelous recipe for the bakery butter cookies.  It was so great, because one recipe could make a ton of different types of cookies.  And her chocolate topping was out of this world.  I loved making long ribbon type cookies and spreading the chocolate between the two and then sandwiching them together.  Then I would dip an end into the chocolate again and then roll them is chocolate sprinkles or crushed nuts.  I used the same recipe to make red and green cherry topped cookies, sprinkled cooked, chocolate cookies and more.  I made the standard nut cups, pecan crescents, peanut butter and Hersey kiss cookies, melt aways, spritz, pizelles, biscotti.  The list could go on forever.  Each year I made all sorts of fudges and candies.  I am not quite sure how I managed all that work and yet it never seemed like much.  I sang to the music and got lost in my own visions of sugar plums and cookies dancing through my head.  I decided that this year, the children deserve to have something a little extra special to help make their holiday brighter.  So there's cream cheese and butter,  vanilla and flour....some salt , some fillings and cooked by the hour....and do you recall the most famous cookies of all!   Okay....now if you sang the last sentence to Rudolph the red Nosed Reindeer. You are about where I am at this moment...and that would be quite giddy!  But cookies making it will be...using all the favorites from those I loved who are no longer with me...but their spirit and their cookies live on!!  I think I will fill some trays for friends and neighbors.  I have even decided to elf a few.  If you have never heard of ELFIN...that is when you put something at someone's door and then take off running so they don't see you.  I know of some people who could really use that this year!  I will pull out my Grandma's apron and think of her as I bake those tantalizing little treats.  I will remember the days of old, when I helped her bake cookies in the kitchen so long ago.  Only back then, we didn't have the same types of appliances we have today that make it so much easier, but it never stopped us from having a good time.  I will even treat myself to a batch...or maybe two of Grandma's Peanut Butter cookies.  I still have her original recipe from  the cookbook using Peter Pan Peanut Butter.  I will have to hide some and try to forget where they are or else I will eat them all in one sitting. 
Well,  I hope that cookies are in your future this year.  I hope that you will share them those you love and maybe with those who could just use a special treat! Perhaps you may host a cookie exchange or just join in on one for the fun of it.  Because...after all, that's the way the cookie crumbles!

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