My Grams taught me the art of holiday baking. I can't remember how old (or young) I was when I first started helping her in the kitchen. Eventually I started baking cookies on my own. And now it just wouldn't feel like Christmas without them. There's just something about creating a plate containing a whole variety of yumminess and then giving away those plates of hard work, sweat, and tears (literally!) to your closest friends, family, and neighbors.
Every year, I work to find a better recipe for the varieties that I wasn't totally happy with the year before.
I also change up the types of cookies a bit, until I create the perfect mix. Some cookies are baked every year: Chocolate Chip, Pecan Sandies, Coconut Snowballs, 7-layer Cookies, Fudge, and Sugar Cookies. Last year I added Linzer cookie sandwiches with jam and decided they should be a yearly staple as well. Pecan bars also threatened to become a staple, but this year I went for pecan pie bites instead because I love that they look like tiny pies. And finally, a new recipe this year - chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies rolled in crushed candy cane. I haven't tried them yet but they look ADORABLE. They are kind of reminiscent of whoopie pies, which are probably one of my favorite baked desserts as of late.
Sometimes I start to wonder if handing out homemade cookies is worth all of the stress, sleepless nights, and countless trips to the store for ingredients I forgot (or ran out of). But then I realize that baking holiday cookies is kind of a lost art form. Back in my Grams' day, baking cookies was a way of life. I like that I can keep a bit of history alive.
My dad called me old fashioned not to long ago. It's not a word you think of when you picture someone in their early 30s. But I suppose I am. And I wouldn't have it any other way, Christmas cookies and all.
Do you have any holiday traditions in your family that you feel responsible for preserving? I'd love to know if you do!
P.S.) I have a free download coming soon - the third photo is a little hint!