December 8 -
Christmas Cookies -
Did your family or ancestors make Christmas cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?
My mother made a lot of Christmas cookies when we were growing up. I'm sure I helped - somehow. I had/have three favorites that I still make today:
The ones pictured at the top (photo adapted from Mary Jane Watson) are known by a number of names: Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Snowballs. We always called them Pecan Puffs. Obviously we always made them with pecans (something I can pick up from under the trees where I live), but I've seen recipes with walnuts. The recipes are all basically the same:
- 1/2 pound butter
- 4 tablespoons powdered (confectioner's) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup ground pecans
Another favorite was Lemon Bars. These are very easy. They're also pretty common. A few years ago, somebody won the "delicious" category in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Cookie Challenge with an almost-identical recipe (search for "Lemon Bars"). Hmmph.
The last favorite is one I call "Chocolate Swirls." It uses unsweetened chocolate, ginger, allspice, and cinnamon, so they aren't super-sweet. The dough is chilled, hand-rolled into "snakes," and then coiled into a circle and sprinkled with granulated sugar. They take the longest to prepare but bake the fastest (10 minutes).
I don't remember making traditional cut-out sugar cookies and frosting them as a child, but I did do that with my son a few times when he was little. However, now he's not much into sweets, and my husband and I don't really need the calories. I probably wouldn't make cookies at all if it wasn't for my husband's grandchildren. The youngest, Luke, LOVES the lemon bars, and his dad, Mike, likes the pecan puffs. A bunch of my Christmas/winter tins are still at their house from the last time I made them some, for Luke's fourth birthday in February.
© Amanda Pape - 2009