December 10, 2015

A Christmas tradition shared

We are so lucky to have neighbors who are lovely, caring and welcoming people. Recently I was over at Frank and Rita's house with my middle stepson Oliver and he asked her if she had anything to cook that he could help her with. She didn't at the time but she immediately offered for the boys to come over and decorate cookies with her grandchildren sometime in the coming weeks before Christmas. 

So we chatted about details and she explained to me that usually she bakes the cookies ahead of time so the kids can do the fun part of icing and decorating when they get there. We scheduled a time for the kids and a time to bake a few days before. 

Tonight I went over for the first step: cookie baking. It was just Rita and I, enjoying a glass of her homemade apple liquor and talking while we worked. As a child my family always made gingerbread so I brought over dough for this kind of cookie and Rita had prepared a shortbread dough. 

I'll go back a day and tell you about my gingerbread dough.  It's a nice recipe because it's not so spicy and children tend to like it. It was always my favorite as a child and we only made it at Christmas so it was extra special. Here is my recipe card:

I used some of our tiny pullet eggs we are getting from the new generation. I used four instead of the two it called for because they are so small. 

I mixed everything in my stand mixer then put it into the fridge to set up over night. 

Today I brought with me my bowl of dough, my apron and some cookie cutters. 

I covered the table in flour and started rolling out my first ball off dough. 

It was extra sticky so I worked a tiny bit more flour into it and that did the trick. It's funny with how many times I've made that recipe my hands knew as soon as I picked it up that it was too sticky. That's the great part about recipes you make over and over again. You develop a tactile memory for the food and making it brings back the times you did it before and the people you did it with. I have so many good memories associated with food and family. 

Back to the cookies...

I rolled mine out in batches, cutting out my men and trees and stars and even a few dog bones. 

Then I put them on a tray lined with parchment paper and into the oven for about 8 minutes. 

It's important not to cook them too long or they become that really crunchy gingerbread cookie we all know and can't stand. I like to take them out when they are still soft, even a little doughy.  

They came out perfectly!  We had to taste test a few just to be sure, of course. 

While I did the gingerbread, Rita worked on her shortbread cookies which were denser but also quite delicious. They will be great for the children to decorate because they are so sturdy. 

We lined every surface of Rita's kitchen with cookies cooling. It was a sight to see!  In Sunday afternoon we will go back to decorate and the boys are really looking forward to it. It is so nice to start new traditions with new friends as we settle in here at the farm. We are truly blessed with many gifts.

I will share pictures of the cookies when they are done. Check back on Sunday. 

No comments:

Post a Comment