Food is a powerful emotional trigger. Whether it’s the aroma or the vision, nothing pops memories to the surface like food. And when the memory is of Christmas baking? Ooooh. That kicks it up a notch!
I’ve blogged three of my family’s favorite Christmas recipes recently: Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies, Mocha Peppermint Pretzels, and Granola Crisps. The first recipe really encompasses memories of my mom in her kitchen with her grandkids, but I left the sugar cookies to her for many years in favor of Gingerbread Cookies.
Oh, my. Now we’re talking. Just as much fun to decorate as sugar cookies, but all that molasses and cinnamon and cloves underneath the icing and coconut and sprinkles? Mmm.
These babies are hard to resist. I’ve tried NOT baking them for a few years so I wouldn’t eat too many, but I had to give in this year. And next year, when SweetPea will be nearly 3 I’ll definitely have to make some with her.
Gather up the fun stuff that you or your kids like to decorate cookies with. The list could include things like: coconut, chocolate chips, silver balls, colored sugar, rainbow or chocolate sprinkles, raisins. Or you might find other things in your supermarket that look entertaining.
Also find your fun-shaped cookie cutters. The shape of a gingerbread man is practically a requirement, but there are also angels, stars, sheep, snowflakes, and many other shapes.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon
5 cups flour
Chill dough for one hour, then roll out, cut into shapes, and bake for 8 minutes at 350. If your cookies are too thin, they’ll be done quicker, so keep an eye on the first batch. I can’t say how many this will make as it depends totally on how big your cutters are. I get about 4 dozen, and my cutters are large.
Use your favorite icing recipe or the one from Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies. Decorate however makes you happy. I think many people think it’s hard. It can be, if you insist on perfectionism. I happen to think homey is fine.
The other gals in the Jolly Daze 4 U & Me Meme have fun Kitchen Traditions to share, too. Check them out, and join in if you like!