The past three days have been a blur of butter and sugar. It was the annual Cookie Baking Marathon! Every year, for at least the past eleven years, right about this time, I embark upon a baking adventure! Thanksgiving is the kick off. It's kind of exciting to see what new idea I can come up with. Oh there are old favourites of course, but it's also fun to create something completely different.
Most of these are the sorts of cookies I only make once a year. Frosted sugar cookies and peanut blossoms for example. They are practically Christmas icons. Everyone recognizes them and automatically thinks...Santa! Some of the others may just be associated with the holiday by family and friends due to being my Guinea Pigs. Like the Dirty Snowballs. (It's a mint chocolate cookie) When I come up with a new idea, somebody has to do Quality Check for me, right?
Over the years, there have been some winners, like Ginger Snaps and some serious loosers, such as cookie press cookies. Nobody voted yes on those. Some are delightful cookies, but they just do not travel well. Whoppie pies come to mind. I have some new ones to surprise people with this year. Spoiler alert, Double Chocolate with mini Reece's pieces for example. I eagerly await those reviews.
Cookies, for me, are an expression of love. They take time, effort, creativity, attention to detail and a little patience, just like the very best relationships. Cookies are also a wonderful memory for me. My maternal grandmother, Nana, was an amazing baker. I remember as a child sneaking peeks into the kitchen as she worked. With awe, I watched her magic. The alchemy of turning all that random product into cookies, cakes, pies and donuts was something beyond my understanding but completely within my appreciation.
Once, when the boys were grade school age, I made a huge batch of Gingerbread Men. I made bowls of coloured icings of every colour in the rainbow. I chopped nuts and bought sprinkles and decorating stuff beyond imaging. The kids invited some friends over and for an entire wintery, cold, snowy afternoon, they laughed and created and decorated and made the biggest most wonderful mess. Those were the most decorated Gingerbread Men ever in the history of humankind! It was awesome!
Of course it was messy. It's supposed to be messy. If you haven't made a mess, you aren't really baking. When I'm done there is flour and sugar everywhere. It's on the walls, the floors, me, every horizontal surface within range and probably the neighbors dog. Ii fling cookie making product with abandon as I labour. It took nearly as long to clean up as it did to make the cookies! I listened to Christmas Songs and sang along as I washed the floors late last night. I scrubbed surfaces and did dishes as I crooned with the likes of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. I hummed along with Jewell (I can't hit her high notes) and declared that I wanted a Hippopotamus for Christmas.
Today I will pack most of them up and ship them out and the kitchen will appear as normal as it ever is once more. But there are a few cookies still tucked away safely in my own freezer. We won't have snow this Christmas but we will absolutely have cookies.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.