Search This Blog

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cookie Baking 2012

Hi Blog - it's Kathy. I wanted to let you know about our family tradition of baking cookies every year around the holidays. Family oral history says it was our great-great-grandmother who baked cookies with her daughters, who then baked cookies with their daughters, and so on down the line.

My sisters and I have no knowledge of when the tradition started.  We've done it our whole lives.  For some it was an eagerly awaited right of passage to finally make it to cookie baking age (12 years old). For others it was a chore that they would rather sleep through. Sometime in the last decade or so, the tradition changed to allow younger kids to participate, and even the boys did their fair share to "earn" their cookies. The cookie shapes and colors also changed from cut-outs of green trees and red santas to include blue and white six point stars, dreidels and menorahs.

Cookies are baked and decorated and put in gift cans for relatives, neighbors, friends, bosses, co-workers, the mailman, the milkman, the newspaper boy and, most importantly, the Charlie Chip delivery guy. Oh, and don't forget Santa. Better save a few for him and the reindeer! As the families grew, the need for more cookies grew. What was once a simple afternoon project of a few butter cookies and some toll house chocolate chips has turned in a cookie making mega event.

The fun starts on a Friday in December. The traditional butter cookie dough requires refrigeration overnight.  The advance team of two or three bakers gets together the night before to mix up the butter cookie dough.  This year we did five batches. We also baked two other recipes to try out before adding them to the mix.  Barb whipped up a white chocolate chip cranberry macadamia cookie and Kathy make a toll house recipe using dark chocolate chips and chocolate pecans smuggled in from China, now known as the "contraband" cookie.

The baking begins early on Saturday morning with a 6:30 a.m. run to McDonald's for breakfast sandwiches. We use to go to Starbucks, but the invention of the K-cup machine changed all that.  The oven gets turned on at 7:00 a.m. and the fun begins.  We usually start off with any fundraiser dough first while the bakers get their batches mixed up.  In addition to the butter cookies, this year we created white chip and cranberry, oatmeal white chip cranberry, peanut butter, chocolate chip with nuts, chocolate chip no-nuts and oatmeal butterscotchies.  Once all the batches of dough are prepared, the bakers take a lunch break. Tradition dictates hot roast beef sandwiches on rolls.  However, the oven is never empty as trays constantly go in and out and in and out.  After lunch, it is time to roll, cut and sprinkle.

As each type of cookie if finished, the booty is divided among the bakers. The living room floor is covered with rows of zippy bags filed with cookies.  Once the butter cookies are ready, the cookie draft begins.  Each baker gets to pick five cookies each round until all of the cookies are divided up.  This way, no one person gets all the "pretty" cookies.

The final batch came out of the oven at 6:46 p.m.  The wine was opened and the celebratory pizzas arrived at 7:15 p.m.  The cookie trades began as folks assemble their gift boxes - chocolate chip with nuts are traded for chocolate chip without nuts. Butter cookies are swapped for peanut butter cookies. Chocolate chip is traded for white chocolate chip until everyone is satisfied they have enough of their favorite kind of cookie.

The cookies are bagged, tagged, boxed, canned, trayed and wrapped. If you are lucky, you have a few precious cookies left for the family, which are hidden away until Christmas. Because really, after spending 12 hours baking cookies you really, really don't want to look at a cookie for at least a week or two.

The final cookie count was 1,499, which doesn't take into account the ones that "accidentally" fell on the floor and had to be eaten in five seconds, or those a little too burnt to be gifted (Tom ate those).  Cookie Baking 2012 - seven women, two generations, 12 hours, 1500 cookies - priceless!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a tradition! The results are amazing. Who got the "Grinch' cookie?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.