Country Kitchen: Cookies-A Favorite Holiday Treat

Country Kitchen: Cookies-A Favorite Holiday Treat
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Once Thanksgiving is over, our thoughts turn to Christmas baking and making treats we can serve during the holidays. Cookies seem to be one of the favorites. They can be made ahead, are easy to serve, and come in so many varieties that there's something for everyone.
Christmas memories from childhood often include cookies. We can visualize the kitchen of days ago and almost smell the tantalizing aroma of the spicy goodies fresh from the oven. These might be cookies made by Mom or Grandma. Or perhaps it was a family cookie making fest.

Family Tradition

Cookie baking becomes a tradition in many families, with some goodies made only at this time of year. We share the cookie heritage of childhood as we create memories with children and grandchildren.

One of my favorite photos my husband took of our 2-year old daughter and me making cookies at the kitchen table. Although her children now are older than that, I remember the fun times Beth and I had with cookie baking. In their family, her husband often bakes cookies with the children.

Cookies of Many Variations

Cookies come in many variations, traditions handed down through families and from various cultures. These might include rolled, bar, dropped, refrigerator ones and those formed by hand or a press.

These morsels have been made in many lands by numerous cooks. Each country often has a favorite, particularly at Christmas time. The name cookie supposedly comes from the Dutch "koekje" which means "little cake."

Some families make cookies to hang on the Christmas tree. Others give them as gifts. Another enjoyable activity consists of cookie exchanges whereby each person brings a dozen cookies and takes a dozen home of different kinds.

Cookies of My Childhood

Mother usually made oatmeal cookies, molasses and sugar cookies which we rolled out and cut into Christmas shapes. She also baked egg white macaroons, and brownies. My sister and I began making chocolate chip cookies, using recipes from the packages. Sometimes Mother tried a new recipe she clipped from a magazine or was given by a friend.

My aunt enjoyed making cookies and always had these treats awaiting when we visited her at Christmas and other times throughout the year. I realized after I wrote one of my favorite poems, "The Cookie Lady," (from the anthology Tales of Adventure & Discovery) that I'd composed it from memories of my aunt.

GRANDMA's DOUBLE BATCH BROWNIES - A cousin said her Irish grandmother was a baker and handed this recipe on to her.

Beat 4 eggs until fluffy. Add 2 cups sugar gradually. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add in 1/2 cup cocoa and 1/2 cup water stirred into a paste. Add 1 cup vegetable oil.

Continue to beat while adding 1 1/3 cups sifted flour and 1 cup chopped nuts.

Bake in greased 9 x 13-inch pan, 30 to 35 minutes at preheated 350 degree F. oven. Do not overbake, she cautioned.

Article (C) 2004 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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