The time has come, the blogger said, to talk of many….cookies. Christmas cookies, to be specific, and which types I’ll be making this year.
Sure, there’s the pounds and pounds of butter and eggs and flour to buy and the hands-on work of making the cookies themselves, but before all that, you have to make some choices and decide which cookies you’ll be making and how many of each type. Variety is important, and in my mind, there are some key flavors that need to be represented: peanut butter, peppermint, chocolate, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, berries and or/cherries, citrus, and pecans or walnuts. You see how quickly the list starts to grow.
The amount of recipes that are available now are truly intimidating to me. You can find collections everywhere, from 25 days of Christmas cookies from time-tested groups, slideshows on holiday cookie suggestions and traditional, Martha-style. Even the classics get tweaked, like in this much-discussed brief history of the chocolate-chip cookie, complete with what is touted as the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever.
For the past few years, my girls and I have spent a day baking dozens and dozens of cookies–or to be most accurate, I spend the whole day and my kids come in and out as they please. These cookies then get distributed far and wide: neighbors, friends, teachers and co-workers all get their share, and the rest adorn our traditional family Christmas brunch. This is a tradition I inherited from my stepmother, who initiated me when I was younger than my girls are now and who did cookie swaps for years with her sisters. I’ve never taken part in a cookie swap, but I really love bringing this tradition to our family and handing out bundles of goodies each holiday season.
While I do use some recipes that are family ones, like my stepmother’s snickerdoodles and my grandma’s fudge, I also like to throw in new recipes each year to keep it fun and creative. Last year I debuted these almond shortbread with guava cookies, which were a huge hit, so they’re joining the rotation. I have two cookbooks dedicated specifically to cookies, so I’m going to look through those for inspiration, and I’ve got at least one holiday issue of a magazine to go through as well. Between these and some of my favorite food blogs, my challenge will be narrowing down.
Look for the final list in the next two weeks!