Christmas Cookie Baking

11:29 pm

In my family growing up, cookie baking for Christmas was often a group affair.  While the meditation of baking alone has an important place in my life, I feel as though Christmas cookies must be baked with others to reap the full rewards of the process.  The anticipation of rolling dough, the grave task of cookie cutter choosing, the child-like glory of decorating…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

all of these are best enjoyed with others.

In recent years, my mom, sisters and I have practiced this holiday ritual with just us and the kids.  This year, however, the husbands came along to make it a true family event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As my mom taught my nephew how to measure flour (just scrape off the top, don’t pat it down), 

my sister how to most evenly roll out the dough (always go from end to end; don’t start in the middle), and my nieces not to fear the industrial-sized mixer, I remembered the long-ago evenings over the flour-covered cutting board.

 

 

 

I’ll admit that I was apprehensive of the dads joining us…as much fun as I usually have with my dear brother-in-laws, I always thought of this as a special ritual shared between the women and children.

However, watching all the parents busy with both their inner and physically present children as we talked about our own childhood Christmas memories brought such a warmth to my heart that I knew we had been missing out all along.

After the rest of the family left, my mom and I spent some quality time trying out our designer decorating skills.

There’s something about taking a childhood activity and adding adult-like creative standards that prevents you from taking yourself too seriously…even if you’re talking about frustratingly adult things.

Thank goodness.

Printable recipe

Mom’s Gingerbread People

Makes 22-24 (5 inch cookies)

1. Cream:
- ½ c. butter
- ½ c. sugar
2. Add:
- ¾ c. molasses
- 1 egg
3. Beat well.
4. With spoon, stir in:
- 3 ½ c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 ½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- ¼ tsp. salt
Optional addition:
Combine freshly grated ginger and crystallized ginger in food processor and pulverize.  Stir into dough to taste.

5. Cover and chill one hour.
6. Roll out dough on lightly floured board to ¼ inch thickness.
7. Cut and place on greased baking sheet.
8. Bake at 350°F oven for 10 minutes.
9. Let cool slightly on pan before removing.
10. Cool completely on cooling racks.

 

Prices to buy new supplies:

printable recipe

Auntie Jane’s Sugar Cookies

(from Better Homes & Gardens)

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 c. butter or shortening
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tsp. milk
  • 2 c. sifted flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  1. Thoroughly cream butter, sugar and vanilla.
  2. Add egg; beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in milk.
  4. Sift together dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture.
  5. Divide dough in half. Chill one hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  7. On lightly floured surface, roll into 1/8” thickness. Cut into desired shapes.
  8. Bake on greased cookie sheet, about 6-8 minutes.
  9. Let cool slightly on pan before removing.
  10. Cool completely on cooling racks.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rick R. January 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I got visions of my grandmother letting me “help” bake pfeffernusse when I was a wee lad. Then, my mom taught me how to make some of her special cookies when I got older. “Yes Virginia, men and dads like to bake too.”

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