So it is almost Christmas. The tree is up. The cards are (nearly) written. And now it is time to turn my attention to cookies.
Over the years, I have collected hundreds of Christmas cookie recipes. But normally I bake the same cookies each year, with one or two "new ones" for good measure. For me, it isn't so much what cookie I bake. It is the memory that each cookie conjures up.
From the time I was old enough to remember, my mother always baked cookies for Christmas. So did my (now deceased) Aunts, Theresa and Ceil. There was always tins and tupperware containers stacked high in their homes around the holidays. My mother kept hers in the basement. My Aunt Theresa had hers on the dinning room sideboard. And my Aunt Ceil kept hers in the walk in pantry.
The cookies were eaten throughout the holiday season. But they were also used as presents. I can't tell you how many cookie platters I made for my mother growing up. Everyone loved them. And they were always so appreciated.
So as I was baking Peanut Butter Blossoms today, I thought of my Aunt Theresa. She always made them. She also made the best (most simple) short bread cookies I have even tasted. I used her recipe to make the decorated cookies above. As I shifted my attention to Coconut Snow Balls, my thoughts wondered to my mother's kitchen. She always made them for Christmas when I was growing up. They were my grandfather's favorite. I need to ask her where she got the recipe, which is older than I am.
I still have Swedish Oatmeal Cookies to make. This recipe is undoubtedly a hundred years old. It was Blenda Henning's recipe, that I received when I lived in Sweden during high school. I still have the original recipe, in Swedish, that her dear daughter Birgitta wrote out for me 30 years ago. There is no peace on earth if I fail to make these cookies. Butter, sugar, oatmeal, flour, cream, baking soda and chopped almonds. They are the most ethereal cookies I have ever eaten. Everyone who tastes them agrees. But more importantly, these cookies remind me of Blenda, my time in Sweden and the special family she left behind.