Cookies, A Favorite Holiday Treat

Cookies, A Favorite Holiday Treat
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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.
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 that my husband took shows our 2-year old daughter and me making cookies at the kitchen table. Although she now has children older than that, I remember the fun times she and I had with cookie baking. In their family, her husband often bakes cookies with the children.

Cookies of Many Variations

Most of us have holiday cookie memories from our childhood, occasions when favorite cookies were baked or served. Cookies come in such a variety of types and shapes - drop, bar, rolled, refrigerator, formed by hand and by 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."

Cookies in 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 the recipes from the packages. Sometimes Mother came across a recipe clipped from a magazine or given to her by a friend.

These MOLASSES COOKIES were developed by a neighbor and became another of our favorites. Cream together 3/4 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar; add 1 egg and 1/4 cup molasses. Stir well. Sift together 2 cups sifted flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cloves or allspice (if desired). Stir into the molasses mixture; chill at least 1 hour.

Then form into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. (They spread while baking.)

Bake 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees F.

New Cookies Set Traditions

A cookie I learned to make in 7th grade Home Economics class became a favorite in our family. These were RUSSIAN TEA BALLS. Different at first from those Mother and my aunt made, we learned these are tasty after they've set awhile so flavors mingle.

Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. (Some cooks leave out the walnuts.)

Shape into walnut-sized balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees F. for 10 minutes, but don't brown.

While still warm, roll in powdered sugar. (Some cooks leave the walnuts out of the unbaked mixture and roll the balls in walnuts and sugar at this point.) Let cool and roll again in powdered sugar. These Tea Balls taste better when stored for a few days.

Article (C) 2002 Mary Emma Allen


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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