Monday, December 23, 2013

A Sweet Family Tradition

Christmas baking has always been a big part of our family holiday traditions. My mom, sister, and I would spend several days baking Christmas goodies each year. Cut-out cookies were always an all-afternoon project. I think the decorating was more fun than the eating! My mom made the world's best fudge and divinity (okay, I may be somewhat bias) and each Christmas my sister, brother, and I would prepare boxes for our school teachers, school bus drivers, and Sunday School teachers. The mailman found a box in our mailbox too.

When Sara and Michael were very young, I was asked if I would be interested in selling home-baked Christmas cookies to my sister-in-laws co-workers. Making some extra holiday shopping dollars while doing something I enjoy seemed like a great opportunity. Making 10 kinds of cookies became a whole-family activity. Sara became the expert at Russian Tea Cakes. Michael rolled the balls for the sugar cookies. John always helped with the date balls. My mom and I spent a day rolling the dough for the gingerbread people! The first year of cookie sales, we sold 79 dozen cookies, enough profit to buy a new front door for our house. Fifteen years later, we topped off our sales at 652 dozen (that's 7,824 cookies)! We no longer have our cookie business, but we will always have the "sweet" memories.

One of our favorite's is M&M Cookies. I use this recipe for many holidays, choosing the appropriate color M&M's to match the holiday. Thanks to Julie, a past co-worker for this melt-in-your-mouth recipe.

M&M Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 cups flour
2 cups M&M's ( reserve 1/2 cup)

Mix all ingredients. Add M&M's last. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Top each cookie with M&M. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 minutes. Makes 8 dozen.

Another favorite Christmas cookie recipe is sugar cookies . I top them with red and green sugar for Christmas.And don't forget Coconut Joys.

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