November 12th, 2013



I don't think I've made it a secret how much I love cookies. But I actually don't eat them all that often. And I almost NEVER make them. Because if I did, and when I do, I stuff my face with them until they're gone. Mmmm cookies!

I don't remember that my mom made cookies all the time or that there were cookies in the house all the time, but we were definitely not cookie-deprived. My mom's mom ALWAYS had cookies on hand, though. Always chocolate chips and ginger snaps. Soft ones. Chewy ones. NOBODY beats my grandma's molasses ginger snaps. When I moved away, there were a few times when she sent me a tin of them for Christmas, once or twice even to present ever!

My sister and I used to prepare a lot of cookie dough...but it rarely made it to baking. We whipped up a batch of dough and then ate it. I am salivating just thinking about how good chocolate chips (hard) in a bowl of perfectly creamy, sugary, buttery raw cookie dough taste. It's been a very long time since I've done that...Sarah, why didn't we think about doing that when we were in Michigan together this year? MISSED OPPORTUNITY!

I always make rice krispie treats for the 4th of July picnic (or any picnic, actually), but the one time of year that I let my cookie flag fly is the Christmas holidays. Christmas just isn't Christmas without cookies. There are several cookies that we ALWAYS have to make: iced sugar cut-out cookies, creme-filled sandwich wafers, reindeer poop, chocolate chip cookies, rice krispie holly bars, jam thumbprints, cranberry pistachio bark. Other cookies come and go, but those are always the favorites.

Cookies I miss: my grandma's ginger snaps, Aunt Mary's Lacy Crisps, Peanut Butter Kisses, FUDGE PUDDLES, french macarons, Scottish shortbread (Girl Scout Lemonades!)

For at least the last 12 years**, I've organized a holiday cookie exchange for the AWC. It's a great way to get new cookie ideas and recipes and everyone has fun doing it. Some years, people get together to bake as well, but since the number of participants has risen, so has the number of cookies that have to be baked and last year, we had so many people that the thought of how many cookies we had to bake was overwhelming and we split into two groups: Nuts and No Nuts, or as I like to call them, girl cookies and boy cookies. Girl cookies have, you guessed it: NO NUTS. haaaa!

I'm firmly in the girl cookie camp, not being all the big a fan of nuts, though I like pistachios and peanut BUTTER in cookies. I don't mind minimal amounts of other nuts, but if there's a nutless alternative around, I'll go for that everytime. One friend, in a cookie discussion just recently, when we were talking about the cookie exchange and last year's split, told me I should have split it into Icing vs. No-Icing, because she doesn't like icing. My response was to ask her if she was nuts. (haaaa again!)

Anyway, about 2 weeks before the cookie exchange, I send out a reminder to everyone to get in or get out, and a week before I shut the signup, and let everyone know how many cookies they have to bake. Each person bakes SIX COOKIES EACH for everyone else. So, if there are 10 people participating, you bake 54 cookies (to give away). Each set of six should be individually packaged, and though most people just use plastic baggies or tinfoil, some get very creative with their packaging as well. The last requirement is that they must bring or email a copy of the recipe to share on the AWC site.

That means each person goes home with sets of six cookies from each of the people participating. A monster pile of cookies to try out! What could be better?? Right now there are 13 people signed up with one maybe. That will mean 72 cookies to make this year and 72 to come home to cookie monster mama!

These are the cookies I've made and shared over the years:

2001 — Rice Krispie Holly Bars
2002 — Almond-flavored Jam Thumbprints
2003 — Rice Krispie Holly Bars
2004 — Mini M&M Cookies
2005 — Snowy Chocolate Chip Cookies
2006 — Reindeer Poop
2007 — Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares
2008 — Rudolf Noses
2009 — Cranberry Pistachio Bark
2010 — Christmas Sugar Spirals
2011 — Cranberry Pistachio Bark
2012 — Iced Peppermint Sugar Cookies
2013 — ???

I think this year, I'm going to make my sister's Scandinavian Almond Bars. She had them in her giant pile of Christmas cookies that she brought to my mom's house when we were home for Christmas in the States last year, and they were SO GOOD. Unless someone comments with a cookie recipe that beat it. BRING IT ON, people! :D

*From a quote by Sandra Lee
**As far back as the AWC website records go.