I have always had the best of intentions of baking lots and lots of cookies during the holidays. I love seeing posts of some of most spectacular cookies online and in some of the foodie groups I belong to.
With each passing year, however, this hasn't been my reality. Instead, I bookmark recipes for future reference and then read through them hoping that I'll make at least one spectacular cookie creation. That hasn't happened either. This year, I've gone so far as to make a Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookie which was simply delicious...this may be the extent of my "spectacular" cookie vision for 2021.
If you've read a few of my blog posts, you'll know that my sister Susan is the baker in the family. Susan bakes all kinds of things, but cookies is where she really shines. Every year, for the past 13 years, she's hosted a cookie exchange. In spite of COVID, she even managed to host the exchange as a driveway drop-off event. She bakes quite a few wonderful cookies, including lemon macadamia nut, double chocolate, vanilla biscotti and almond shortbread.
Susan and I used to make gingerbread houses and gingerbread people each holiday. We had fun, laughed a lot and were inspired by the breathtaking gingerbread creations on the McCalls magazine covers, which we painstakingly attempted to recreate. Our kitchens resembled something out of I Love Lucy with flour and icing everywhere! Such good memories.
This is the gingerbread house which was on display in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel in Cleveland a few years ago.
My friend Liza of HLC Sweets, is a cookie baker who's made some extraordinary cookies for me personally as well as for my colleagues when I worked at hospice. She is a skilled, patient artist who also happens to make delicious cookies. For a few years she's made themed cookies for the annual staff holiday party. Each cookie was a work of art and the staff anxiously awaited the party each year to see the cookie "reveal". Pretty awesome.
Liza has also made a cookie sleigh filled with cookies which was used following Christmas Eve Mass at hospice for patients, families, guests and staff.
The cookie sleigh was almost too beautiful to eat.
Everyone simply wanted to marvel at the detail. Love Liza and her cookies.
One of the most wonderful gifts this season has been the gingersnaps that Susan has made for our friend Helen, who just turned 101. Gingersnaps are Helens favorite cookie; they were also the beloved cookie of our grandmother Lizzie.
Here's the recipe for Gingersnaps:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
I may not have time to create a spectacular cookie this year. Fortunately, I have a stash of cookie dough in my freezer that I can use to make cookies for Santa, if I don't fall asleep early on Christmas Eve.
Need more cookie inspiration, check out this blog post:
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Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food and lifestyle company. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at selected Northeast Ohio businesses including:
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