As a little girl one of my favorite times of the year was helping my mom bake Christmas cookies. As I got older she allowed me to help more each year and so when Jon and I got married I couldn’t wait to make my own Christmas cookies! I was going to wow my entire family and our parishioner’s with my cookie making skills! I couldn’t wait to make my Uncle Jim’s favorite icebox cookies, or butterscotch slices as I call them, spritz cookies with that delectable cherry in the center, those cute little trees with the colored sprinkles over them and mom’s rolled sugar cookies. I even bought little tins to make pecan tassies.
Well, I guess the one thing I didn’t inherit from my mom was the fine art of making Christmas cookies that not only were good to eat, which mine were, but were also great to look at and actually resembled Christmas cookies, which mine didn’t. My first attempt at using my brand new cookie press resulted in Christmas trees that looked like big blobs and spritz cookies that the cherry juice bled all over the cookie (guess I forgot to drain the cherries). Jon just said he remembered those. But I was bound a determined to continue try to wow everyone. My sugar cookies were either too thick or to thin and stuck to the pan – to this day I really dread making anything that has to be rolled and cut. I somewhat got the knack down of that crazy cookie press, but laughed so hard the year I made spritz and so laboriously drained, cut and set those cherries perfectly in the center only to come back out to the kitchen to find Justin on the table eating all the cherries off the cookies! There were times my Christmas trees either had no top or no trunk. But, I continued my determination and even tried new recipes that my mom didn’t make. Thumbprint cookies that the jam wouldn’t stay in the thumbprint, but drooled off the side of the cookie as it baked. I’m still not sure if my thumb just isn’t big enough or what. Oh- my cinnamon Christmas stars were great- but how hard is it to make dough, roll it out and cut out a star with a cookie cutter. No decorations! At this point I figured there was no sense in my even attempting my mom’s awesome pecan tassies. Why ruin a good thing.
But, as obligations go I continued making cookies. Some years better than others, some years worse than others. I had kids at home and had to be the Betty Crocker mom and parishioners to impress. How could I not make Christmas cookies. And then to top it off I discovered that Justin and Brett’s favorite ones that I was making are those ones that come in the little tube that all you have to do is cut it where it shows on the wrapper, put it on a cookie sheet and bake. Viola! I had reached Betty Crocker status when they finally were getting eaten and I was impressed by my ability to have a half way decent plate of cookies.
So I continued making tons and tons of cookies until the year that all of a sudden every time Jon came home from church he was bringing a plate of cookies from the ladies at church. We had cookies coming out of our ears. I secretly believe that, somewhere along the way, they must’ve seen what I was baking and truly felt compassion for Jon and the boys. Were my cookie baking days coming to an end? That is when I think I finally saw the light and decided it was time to stop baking cookies and start with a new tradition- candy making! I won’t go into this now, but I do have to say that this was far more of a success and Justin and Brett actually ask for some of it now. In fact, I was quite excited last year when Brett and Heather came to visit in November and he actually asked if we could make candy! I had finally hit my mark.
But, the cookie saga doesn’t end here. You know something inside of me still has this obligation to make Christmas cookies. Despite the fact that I swore I wasn’t going to make any I started with gingerbread men at Thanksgiving. Even though there were a couple headless and legless gingerbread men over all they were quite good all decorated with their raisin eyes and M&M buttons and blue mouths (O.K. I used what I had for decoration). Today I decided I was going to make Gladys’ kiffles. Gladys was a neighbor that lived down the street from us and she and her husband, Harold, were like 2nd grandparents to us. She made the best homemade bread and apricot kiffles in the world. Well, needless to say my cookie baking skills have not improved any over the years. As you can see they look like little popovers without a top! There were a couple that stayed folded, but for the most part they are the saddest Christmas cookies I think I have ever made.

I finally gave up and tried to make my stellar thumbprint cookies.
So much for the cookies. Mom, your pecan tassies are safe.
Thank goodness for tins of Danish butter cookies, parishioners that feel sorry for Jon and chocolate candy!