Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas cookies to the horizon

My brother and I made the traditional Christmas cookies this past weekend. We both have the personalities and sometimes the job responsibilities of engineers to the cookie making is on an assembly line and a lot of thought has gone into making the manufacture very efficient.

Rapid cookie production is only the latest part of the cookie tradition. The recipe comes from my grandmother, and she said that she made these cookies with her mother. That makes this recipe potentially over one hundred years old. The family used to be very conservative about any changes to the recipe or even the manner in which they were prepared. Lately we have realized that instead of rolling out individual ball of dough to make the filled cookie, we have moved to cookie cutters for the round shapes and faster filling equipment. I don't know how my 82 year old grandmother could make them the old fashioned way, because even with all of the modern conveniences my back is usually killing me after a day of baking cookies.

At the end of the process the cookies get covered with confectioners sugar. I remember sneaking into the recipe book to get the recipe so that I could start making them again after my grandmother stopped making them because it was too much work. I wanted to make them for her so that she could correct any errors and the recipe would live on. I am very glad that my brother and I make them together these days, because he has added some great innovation for speed while keeping the recipe true to its roots and the original flavor. This year we made: apple butter filled (triangle), pumkin butter filled (half moon), pineapple preserve filled (fold and fold), apricot filled (fold and fold and cut ends to look like a pinking shear edge), and twists. My brother also made the biscotti type with the sugared fruit in them.

One final word about all of these cookies from the Thinker: Yum!

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