St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Cookies

Celebrations of Christmas includes the baking of cookies, richly laden breads, highly spiced cakes, and of course vast Christmas dinners.   How these are associated with the religious celebration of Christ's birth, I don't know, but as Christians include gift giving, trees, wreaths, candy, cookies and sumptuous meals as part of Christmas, I feel obligated to participate fully. 

Margo is gradually recovering from her three years of problems that started with cancer and ended with two back operations.  We can gauge how she is doing as she gets the urge to bake or clean when feeling better. 

Today, Margo began the first of 3 days of cookie making.  Her goal is two types each day and about 10 dozen of what she likes to make and others like to eat.  Today it was a flour, sugar, mint chip cookie and peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies.  Tomorrow I think might be pecan balls, and some kind of sugar cookie.  She makes substantial and relatively simple looking cookies. 

Single serving of Hershey Kisses -- 9 kisses (8 servings per bag) and 200 calories per serving -- not too bad!
Mom, who was gifted artistically, aimed for some regular cookies to satiate the four boys, but also like to try the fancy ones with gingerbread men, highly decorated stars, snowmen, as well as extruded cocoa nut flavored strips and all sorts of candies including white divinity with woods found wintergreen flavor and hand cracked black walnuts.  She was never satisfied to do the same ones from year to year and some of her new creations (she liked to make her own recipes) were great and some not so.  She loved to enter new recipes in baking contests, often won. She tried everything out on Dad and the 4 boys, all of us very critical and not like her women friends who would didn't want to offend.   However, you could fool us by filling just about any cookie with chips or adding a quarter inch of fudge frosting to the top of any cake. 

Unwrapping is my job and tossing out the flawed ones

Scott makes the dough cookies, puts the sheets in and out of the oven and on the cooling racks and packs them away to sort into individual gift boxes later.
So this morning all the tables, counters and flat surfaces were cleared, the 6 big cookie sheet pans brought out and the assembly line put in play with Scott and I the crew and Margo the chef. 
I especially liked the peanut butter ones with the chocolate kisses on top, although the mint chip ones were good too.  

Mom almost never used chips or stars sticking rather to the idea that the ingredients should stand for themselves without flavor embellishments in the early days (and partially because those store bought items were expensive and probably not made from good wholesome farm ingredients).  She did embellish the top of the cookies with green and red sugar crystals, sugar frostings and other home made toppings.  Snowmen sugar cookies looked at us from sugar spotted eyes as did the gingerbread men.  

A cog in the assembly line

Every cookie is exactly the same size, has exactly the same number of chips inside and comes out just like the store bought ones without a bit of individual character (Ha!)
A double batch is not quite right for the small mixer