It's Holiday Cookie Time!
I don’t know about you, but I like cookies pretty much any time of the year. They’re good for every occasion, and with so many varieties, you can always try something new or stick with a favorite like chocolate chip.
But this time of year is when cookies really shine and get lots of attention. I don’t know if anyone still does cookie swaps, but a lot of people probably make special cookies for themselves. Those with kids might also make cookies to leave for Santa. And even those without kids might have fond memories related to holiday cookies.
My memories center around sugar cookies because when I was growing up, around this time every year – or at least sometime before Christmas – my mom and I made sugar cookies together. Well, my dad made the dough, but my mom and I did the rest.
And sugar cookies are somewhat complicated. After you make the dough, it has to chill in the fridge for a while. Then you have to roll it out on a table or counter so you can cut it into shapes using cookie cutters. We had some typical Christmas shapes, like a candy cane, a Christmas tree, and a reindeer, but also some more unusual ones, like this squirrel, a bunny, and Kermit the frog.
But then after we cut them out, we still had to decorate the cookies. We used colored sugar and sprinkles, but I know some people use icing. I liked to be careful with my decorations so the cookies looked really good because we gave a lot of them to friends and family. But if some of them got messed up, that was okay because we could eat those.
I still like to make cookies for family and friends for Christmas. I occasionally make sugar cookies, but because they’re so involved, I often stick with simpler cookies, like ginger crinkles, snickerdoodles, or cranberry sugar cookies.
A long history
And it turns out that giving people cookies for Christmas has been a tradition for a long time. People have been celebrating winter holidays for hundreds of years, and once people in Europe got access to different spices, they used them in all kinds of cooking and baking – including cookies.
One type of cookie that uses a lot of spices is gingerbread, and those are also popular this time of year. Like sugar cookies, these are often cut into different shapes, most often shapes of people, and then decorated. Some people even say that this tradition goes back to Queen Elizabeth I of England, who asked her bakers to make gingerbread people look like her guests or people in her court.
If you’re curious to learn more about the history, this article has lots of great info.
Bringing sweetness to the holidays
Special cookies, as well as all the other holiday foods, help make these days special and fun and extra sweet. And I hope you get to have some delicious cookies for whatever holiday you celebrate this winter.