Thursday, December 13, 2012

Musings: Non-Traditional Christmas Cookies

“Tomorrow, I’m going to make Christmas Cookies that people want to eat.”

Since medieval times, cookies have been a Christmas tradition. Far from being an everyday food, cookies were a special part of festival seasons.  During the industrial revolution, cookies became less about eating a sweet treat and more about decorating. Manufactured cookie cutters, molds and decorating tools became available to everyone.  

Today, when I think Christmas Cookies, I think of sugar cookies cut in many marvelous shapes, topped with bright icing. My family always made those.  If your family has other traditions, I’d love to hear about them.

Personally, I don’t like frosted sugar cookies at all.  I think they have no flavor other than cloying sweetness.  I hate how the frosting gets hard as a rock after a day or so.  Judging by how they seem to stick around, I don’t think I’m alone.  I love decorating them, but when they’re done, I pawn them off on other people.

This year, I said no more. This year, I made some cookies that I actually want to eat. I made Chocolate Spice Quickies, from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.  They are simple slice and bake cookies, made with cocoa and ground almonds, flavored with zippy allspice and a swirl of melted chocolate.  
My humble cookies, small but mighty.
They might not win any beauty contests, but they are a crumbly, buttery delight.  They’re a manageable size so I don’t have to feel guilty for having just one.  They won’t linger around until Christmas.  They’ll be gone and I can make more cookies!

Someday, I’ll make a sugar cookie recipe that feels the same way.  With icing that doesn’t taste like a sweet fossil. Someday.

I encourage everyone to dress up their favorite cookies for Christmas.  There’s no reason that we have to stick to the sugar cookie cutout formula.  Its a Christmas revolution!

And if you absolutely love sugar cookies, I’d be glad to give you some! Maybe we can make a registry of sugar cookie donors and receivers.

Christmas Cookie History Source: The Food Timeline

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