Thankful for our Cookie-Making Tradition
We have a long-standing cookie-making tradition at Thanksgiving. It’s been going on for decades, and I have shared it before. After all, it’s a tradition!
In 2022 both daughters and their families were with us for Thanksgiving, and this year was supposed to be a repeat. Alas, that did not happen. We heard Wednesday night our younger daughter’s older daughter was quite sick and had a fever, and the younger one was not well either, so they would not be joining us.
Early Thanksgiving morning we learned our daughter had to take our granddaughter to the ER around 6 am since she still had a fever but was also quite dizzy. The xray did not show pneumonia, fortunately, and the IV helped with the dizziness fairly quickly. The ultimate diagnosis was RSV but with some antibiotics she is feeling much better now! But it certainly was not a fun Thanksgiving for them. I'm very thankful some good friends of theirs in the area shared food with them!
So instead of shopping on Black Friday it was our cookie-making day with 2 of the 4 grandkids. We saved about 1/3 of the dough and sent it back to our other daughter in LA via our older daughter today in a care package, so they could make their own cookies. Of course we included some holiday leftovers, too!
Making Honey Lebkuchen has been a tradition on the maternal side of my wife’s family for generations, and we started our own tradition when my wife and I first started dating. We make the cookies at Thanksgiving and depending on the size, and varying shapes with grandkids involved, there are usually about 15 dozen.
I’d guess we’ve made well over 8000 cookies in our time together, not including other cookies we make for the holidays. And I’ve certainly consumed many hundreds over the years!
A big part of the fun of making these cookies, in addition to eating them and being with family, is sharing with others.
It’s quite a process from start to finish. I always fix the batter a day or two before cookie making day - that takes a couple of hours. While much of the recipe is pretty easy, it gets laborious when you have to stir in 12 or so cups of flour into the honey, brown and granulated sugar, and butter mixture. I’ve even broken 2 wooden spoons over the years.
Once the dough is rolled out (my wife does this) it’s traditionally cut into diamond shapes. But when grandkids are around some of the tradition flies out the window, with the holiday cookie cutter shapes being popular. Each cookie gets 1 blanched almond before baking (some grandkid creations have more than 1). Cookies are coated with a glaze of powdered sugar, milk, and lemon extract once baked and still warm.
We keep the Lebkuchen in canisters for a few weeks to season and soften with a piece of bread. The cardamom, citron, and honey lend a special flavor over time, but no one waits long before testing them out. While it’s nice to have some for Christmas Day and later, they don’t always last that long between us eating them and sharing with others.
We have a few other holiday traditions but this is one I particularly like due to family involvement. And I enjoy creating something to share with family and friends. On a few occasions we’ve had friends over to make them (it’s a lot of work for just 2 people!). I can’t imagine the holidays without this family tradition every year. I hope it continues for a long time, and perhaps our kids will take it on themselves as we did years ago.
I’m always grateful for this special tradition and the joy of having family around during the Thanksgiving holiday. Once again it was a special moment again this year.
This is my 3rd entry for the November Gratitude Challenge. Thank you, Debe Maxwell, CRS, for hosting and for this fun opportunity to share what we are thankful for.