Christmas Traditions: Cookies, Candy, & Connection

In a recent post Soul Food by my friend, Pati, she describes the connection she and I have had cooking together the past twelve years. In addition to the monthly cooking, we also set time aside to make cookies and candies each year at Christmas. My friend, Donna, who joined our cooking adventures along the way, was quickly conscripted into our cookie tradition too.

This candy collaboration is no small undertaking when baking, dipping, and sorting for three families and their planned giveaways. We learned the overachiever lesson of sacrificing joy for production a time or two, settling on the favorites: Russian Tea Cakes, Sugar Cookies, Grandma’s Molasses Cookies, Chocolate Covered Almonds, Turtles, Peppermint Bark, Toffee Bark, and Chocolate Pretzels.

Judy, Pati, Donna

Armed with ten pounds of Ghirardelli dipping chocolate and enough confection to make children swoon, we laugh, lament, and share stories for hours on end.  We have worked around bum shoulders and knees, emotional burnout, life crisis, and overloaded schedules to make sure it happens every year.  The chopping, mixing, baking, and dipping are simply the backdrop for fellowship and friendship, which is the sweetest gift in all of it.

Russian Tea Cakes

Yield: 4 1/2 dozen cookies
1         cup  butter, softened
1/2     cup  powdered sugar
1         teaspoon  vanilla
2 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
1/4     teaspoon  salt
3/4    cup  finely chopped walnuts
*additional powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 400.  Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla.  Mix in flour, salt and nuts until dough holds together.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until set but not brown, 10-12 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool slightly; roll in powdered sugar while still warm. Cool completely and roll in powdered sugar again.

Peppermint Bark


Molasses Cookies

Decorating Sugar Cookies


3 responses to “Christmas Traditions: Cookies, Candy, & Connection

  1. Pingback: A Dunker’s Companion: Biscotti | Savoring Today

  2. I loved your post about baking for Christmas. I, too, have a tradition like this with some friends, and it is one of the best times of the year. We make various kinds of cookies, and this year, we added truffles. Yum!

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