Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baking Day, Part One

One of my favorite things about preparing for the holidays is baking Christmas cookies.  I'm a total novice compared to my mother and grandmother.  My Oma and her sisters made sky-high towers of tins of cookies every year.  It was a big family, and everyone had to have their favorite kinds represented on the cookie tray.  My mother carried on that tradition by baking several dozen cookies each year too.  I grew up in the cold north, and we used to stack the cookie tins out in the garage to keep them cool and fresh.  I remember setting up card tables and lining up paper plate platters to assemble big arrangements to deliver to friends and neighbors.

Cookies have always been a big part of Christmas.  This year I took a poll to see which kinds everyone wanted.  You know what they voted for?  The gourmets who live here?  Nestle's Tollhouse!  For Christmas!  I'm still reckoning with it.  Those didn't make the cut today.  They are just so....ordinary.  I couldn't bear to make them just yet.  First I had to do batches of festive things....Christmasy things....things with no chocolate chips, rendering them rather disappointing to my crowd.

But no one complained too loudly when it was time for taste testing.

My Mom came over and we fired up the Kitchen Aid.  In no time flat we were rolling, cutting, frosting, mixing, baking, cooling, and the very best part....sampling!  We got a lot done, and I'm one step closer to being ready for Christmas.  Today's spoils included....

Ginger snaps,

 Cream Wafers,

Lemon Snowballs,

"Pinkies" (shortbread),

and one more. We saved the hardest for last.  I remember candy cane cookies from when I was very young, and it has been many years since we've made them.  Mom is an expert at rolling the dough.  Me, not so much.  Mine looked more like question marks or Dr. Seuss squiggles than candy canes.

But they turned out really cute and will definitely add a touch of nostalgia to this year's cookie tray.

Tomorrow the marathon continues.  We're headed up to Nana and Papa's to mess up the farm kitchen.  We're doing cut-out cookies complete with frosting and sprinkles.  See how I worked that?  I saved the really involved ones for Nana's house.  I'm smart like that.  :-)

I have not finished shopping or wrapping, and have not begun menu planning or cleaning the house.  If my house guests start to notice the dust, my plan is to distract them with a ginger snap.

I always think it's wise to have a good Christmas strategy.

More photos tomorrow from baking, part two!


Aunt J. said...

Sweet memories. I'd give anything to be back sampling all those cookies. But what you probably don't know is.... we had to wait until Christmas Eve before we could eat those wonderful cookies!! How hard do you suppose that was on a kid?? Have fun!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making my favorites! The Pinkies look great ... are they new?
Love, Dad