Christmas time has always been a great excuse to “pig out” and as long as I can remember, we did just that!
My mother-in-law would begin making cookies weeks in advance with the help of her mother who would come to visit from the Boston area. They made complicated cookies that required rolling pins or shaping cookies while they were still warm on the cookie sheets. Exotic cookies that were ONLY made a Christmas. They’d store these cookies in dozens of tins, sealed with tape and stored in spare spaces in cabinets all over the house. Go to grab a towel in the bathroom and it would very likely be next to a stack of cookie tins.
My mother went more for Christmas candy. Every year, we had fudge – chocolate AND peanut butter as well as divinity. One year, she put chunks of colorful chewy candy (kind of like gum drops) in each snowy white mound of divinity. She also made peanut butter balls which she’d skewer with a toothpick and then dip in a mixture of melted chocolate and paraffin. She’d make rice krispy treats, but she’d put green food coloring in the melted marshmallow and then shaped the treats into wreaths which she’d decorate with small “red hots” and piped frosting to make a bow.
The only homemade cookie that I associate with Christmas from my childhood would be Swedish Spritz. Mom had a large, silver cookie press. She’d make the dough and then put it into the press. There was a large screw-type device and as you twisted the handle, a piece inside would push the dough through a metal stencil that gave the cookie a shape. My hand would ache so bad after making a batch of those cookies, but we loved them! We’d add red or green sprinkles to the tops of the cookies when they came out of the oven.
Tonight, my family and I will begin making cookies for our first family Christmas celebration of the year which will be this week-end. I hope that my children hold these memories in their hearts as I have mine.