'TIS THE SEASON FOR BAKING COOKIES!
Cookie baking for Christmas is an old tradition in many families. I have a friend in Virginia who starts her preparations way back in October and has what I call a "plan of strategic attack". By the time Christmas rolls around, she has packed and shipped hundreds of cookies to family and friends and on Christmas day she and her husband go around delivering cookies to nearby friends and neighbors!
You may be thinking this sounds like a lot of work, but I want to assure you that holiday cookie making doesn't have to be complicated. Choose some favorites and bake a couple of dozen every few days.
Make sure that you pack them in clean, dry tins, which you have saved through the year just for the purpose. Many cookies can be baked ahead, stored in freezer until needed, brought to room temperature and then decorated, if
decoration is called for, at the last minute.
Local paper product companies sell beautiful holiday boxes, cellophane and ribbons appropriate for cookie gift giving.
Here is wishing you a Season of Happy Baking and Wonderful Aromas!
COOKIE EXCHANGE PARTY
When I lived in South Carolina, I was a member of a group which had a tradition of cookie exchanging every year. It was a lot of fun and a good way to make sure we all ended with a wonderful assortment of goodies and good recipes for the holidays.
On the invitation ask each guest to bring a platter of cookies, the number to be determined by how many people are invited and how many cookies you would like your guests to be able to exchange.
Make sure everyone brings at least a couple of dozen of each type cookie and enough copies of each recipe for each guest to take home. Each guest should beable to leave with a generous sampling of everyone's cookies and copies of the recipes.
The hostess should serve coffee, hot tea, punch, hot chocolate or any other suitable beverage and have lots of cookies on hand for nibbling!
"PAINTING" CHRISTMAS COOKIES
For those of you who have children or grandchildren that like to bake and cook with you...this is something my kids and I used to do when they were growing up.
A week of so before Christmas we would bake several batches of plain sugar cookies in Christmas shapes. Then we would have a decorating party and sometimes they invited a few friends.
I would cover several card tables with white butcher paper and place some more of the paper on floor around and under the tables.
Get together for each table:
4 clear acrylic drink cups
several inexpensive watercolor brushes
Pour a bit of clear Karo syrup in each cup
Add a few drops of food coloring to each until you get desired color
Let them decorate the cookies by "painting" the colors on with the brushes. Caution them that colors will run together or bleed into each other if they don't let the color "set" a bit before adding another color next to the already painted one.
When cookies are painted, place on cookie sheets in very low oven (200oF to 250oF should do it) with door cracked open. Let them dry out. Depends on how much paint they glob on as to how long it will take. The paint might crackle in some of them giving a stained glass effect.
Let each guest take home an assortment.
(C) Sonia Martinez - Come Join the Feast! - December 3, 2002 - The Hawaii Tribune-Herald of Hilo