For as long as I can remember, my church has had a “cookie walk” the Sunday before Christmas. Basically, anyone who wants to participate can bake his family’s favorite holiday cookies, stand at a plastic folding table in a small auditorium, and proudly offer his creations.
For just $5, my mom, brother, and I get access to the auditorium, where we stroll from table to table. We grab the cookies with our gloved hands and fill whatever tin or plastic bag we have. Along with the handicrafts of fellow parishioners.
Chatting with parishioners peddling products, strategizing with family members as they move from room to room, and adding lots of baked goods to bring home are all sources of warm and wonderful holiday memories. It’s hard not to want to take home all the cookies to enjoy during the most wonderful time of the year.
But these cherished moments pale in comparison to our own holiday cookie tradition. and decorated butter cookies. (Browsing the internet, it seems most people consider this type of cookie to be a “butter spritz cookie.”)
We make two or three batches using the largest bowls and wooden spoons to ensure we have a surplus of cookies that will last until the end of the season. and a sort of “favor” that I send to relatives from time to time. He was a big fan of cookies and had an excessive amount on his hands to eat while watching TV.
For assembly-line efficiency and productivity, we use a classic ‘cookie gun’, also known as a cookie press. This usually involves one person mixing the dough, a second person filling the “gun”, another person pressing the cookies, someone decorating the cookies, and someone else overseeing the oven.
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In about an hour, you can mass-produce a large batch of cookies. Then stuff them into nostalgic holiday tins with bread to slow the cookies from hardening as January approaches. (I don’t know exactly how this works scientifically, but a loaf of white whole wheat or potato bread in a sealed can is much softer, softer, and doesn’t stale.) It becomes a cookie.)
Incredibly simple and comforting, these cookies not only symbolize the holidays, they’re practically perfect in every way. I like to compare it to Pringles and popcorn.
Their scents, bite-sized shapes, soft textures, and festive colors permeate all of my holiday memories. I enjoy these cookies 99.9% of the time at Christmas. ) My mother’s parents were German and Slovak. I know this is some sort of classic European butter her cookie, but I’m not entirely sure where the recipe originated. All of my mother’s immediate family members get to work making cookies for her holiday season. Nana tallies the exact number of cookies and makes a comparison with the previous year.
The only non-negotiable element of this process? We always play Hanson’s 1997 masterpiece, “Snowed In.” (Believe me, Hanson should be known for more than just “MMMBop.”) Often times, he’ll loop his albums to make the holiday soundtrack seem endless, a spectacle of baking cookies. and keep playing along with the smell.
My aunt often makes chocolate chip cookies, nut balls, pecan nuts, pizzels, decorated sugar cookies, aniseed or lemon-flavoured cookies with brightly colored icing, crescent cookies, etc. You can select. Cookies are often decorated with a heaping amount of powdered sugar. These cookie assortments, my family’s butter cookies, and hauls from church’s cookie walk sustain us throughout the entire season.
In honor of these traditions, I decided to host a “virtual cookie walk” with Salon Food. This allowed our team to share their favorite holiday cookies and why they’re so special. (Thanks later for Hanson’s recommendation!)
“Somehow I found myself eating buckets of Italian wedding cookies every holiday season,” says Kelly McClure, editor of Nights and Weekends.
Also called anginetti, these treats (similar to the butter cookies above) are often flavored with almonds and anise, and sometimes include sprinkles or nonpareils. Light and airy, with a combination of buttery and nutty flavors, one may not be enough. (Be prepared to clean your fingers of powdered sugar from eating too many!)
Whether it’s chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter, chocolate dipped peanut butter cookies, or peanut butter flower cookies, PB Nuts has plenty of holiday options to choose from.
“Does Rumball count?” senior political writer Amanda Marcotte asks me. Rum balls are a rich and rich confection that looks like a mix of truffles and cookies. They often have cocoa, nuts, and of course! — a fair amount of rum, often spiced. Some recipes also include vanilla wafer cookies.
Rum balls make really nice gifts because they’re easy to individually wrap in decorative paper cups. But it still feels pretty festive.
Another cookie is sometimes “sandwiched” on top (with a hole for the jam to peek through) and is often dusted with powdered sugar. Welcome.
Editor-in-Chief Erin Keen particularly likes these cookies, but not for the reasons you’d expect.
Click here to share your favorite holiday cookies and the photos, recipes and stories behind them via email. happy holiday!
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About holidays and baking