Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookies, etc

There's been a lot of talk lately on Holidailies about baking cookies for the holidays, and I remember that tradition fondly from my childhood. But I always seem to find myself too busy, even when I'm not moving. Maybe next year? You know, when we have two children under the age of three. Yeah, I'll be baking like crazy.

My mother is supposed to take cookies to some kind of pot luck at the nursing home where she did rehab after a heart attack. She's refusing, though, insisting that she's going to make bars instead. I doubt that they'll throw her out of the potluck for her square transgression into a circular space. It's not like they asked for cookies and she's bringing sloppy joes. Even if she did, they'd be foolish to turn her away--she's always made mean sloppy joes.

My mother never considered herself much of a cook (though I suspect she'd put many, many people to shame in this regard), but I think she always knew that she could bake the heck out of sweets. Cookies, cakes, pies, but especially cookies. Cookie-baking was always quite an affair in our house--she and my dad would work together. She'd take out the mammoth Kitchen Aid mixer and stir up a batch of cookies that was at least triple the recipe (why spend the time if you weren't going to be able to feed several armies at the end of the day?). And then do the same for several other cookie recipes. Always we had chocolate chip. Our other staple cookies were peanut butter cookies and corn flake cookies. In later years, mom could never seem to bake cookies without doing (no joke) potato chip cookies. Other cookies would come and go. At Christmas, it was always a time for chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge, and a few time she tried her hand at Divinity, which never matched up to what she remembered her mama making. Not knowing the difference, I certainly liked it well enough.

Other goodies that would be made this time of year included buckeyes (peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate) and her famous chocolate chip peanut butter squares. The squares she's planning to make this year in lieu of cookies are called Chewy Bars. It's not a great name for them, because 1) they aren't really "chewy" per se and 2) the name should really emphasize the fact that their active ingredient is cream cheese. Doesn't that knowledge make you want to say "yes please" faster than the name "chewy bars"?

I think it would be great to bake a whole bunch of cookies, mostly to give away. We would, of course, get to eat some ourselves, but mostly they would be for giving away. Maybe next year...

What are your favorite cookies to bake (or to have baked for you!) this time of year?


  1. It's funny, I know a lot if people who love baking but aren't as confident about non-bake cooking, and just as many who are fantastic cooks but can't get the hang of baking. They seem to attract different personalities and require different skills, though I certainly know plenty of people who are good at both as well.

    As for cookies, if given the option I always go with chocolate chips (not nuts) crispy on the edges and just a little chewy in the center.

  2. I just finished some gingerbread men (from a Real Simple recipe) and am in the "refrigerate" phase of Betty Crocker's sugar cookie recipe. I'm also about to look for a fudge recipe, and my husband may make some chocolate chippers (as he calls them) as well. Although, as you note, we will keep a few for ourselves, these are mostly for giving away. In cute bags, of course.