I’m Thankful for our Christmas Cookie Tradition
My wife and I have a long-standing cookie-making tradition. In many years we made them all in one day, but often when visiting the grandkids, etc. we stretch it out to 2 days.
I learned about my wife’s German family cookie making, a tradition for generations (Honey Lebkuchen), when she and I first started dating, then lived together in Ohio where I was in grad school and she was at Proctor and Gamble. The cookie making is at Thanksgiving, and depending on the size of the cookies, you end up with around 15 dozen or so - this year we made 197 cookies.
We’ve made these cookies every single year since we started dating, about 40 years – that’s a lot of cookies with 15 dozen or so per batch. And part of the fun of making these cookies, in addition to eating them, is sharing with other family members and friends.
It’s quite a process and takes a bit of effort. I always mix the batter, prepared a day or two before making the cookies. Have you ever tried to stir in 15 cups of flour into a sticky honey/brown and granulated sugar/butter mixture? I have broken 2 wooden spoons in the past. It's definitely a workout for my right arm and shoulder.
An Aerial View of Round 2 of our Cookie Making Today
Once rolled out (my wife likes doing this) the dough is traditionally cut into diamond shapes. But when grandkids are involved some of the tradition goes out the window since they like using varied cookie cutter shapes. Each cookie gets 1 blanched almond before baking, and once cooked they are coated with a glaze of powdered sugar, milk, and lemon extract.
The cookies are kept in tins for a few weeks to season and soften – the cardamom, citron, and honey add a special flavor over time – but naturally no one wants to wait too long before testing them.
This year we made round 1 (80 cookies) with the grandkids at our home the day after Thanksgiving; my wife and I finished up round 2 (117) today.
We have a few other holiday traditions but this is one I particularly like due to family involvement, and creating something to share with family and friends. Since our kids grew up and left we sometimes also have friends over to make them (it’s a lot of work for 2 people!).
I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving or Christmas without this long-standing and tasty family tradition.