Gingerbread houses were one of the best parts of holiday baking when I was a young adult. My sister and I would try our best to bake up a different house each Christmas. Some years we even managed to bake gingerbread people. 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.
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 as well as in magazines and cookbooks.
A family favorite, Brown Sugar Walnut Cookies. The recipe was passed down from a legendary cookie maker who wrote out the recipe in longhand when she was in her late eighties.
I bookmark recipes for future reference and then read through them hoping that I'll make at least one spectacular cookie creation for the season. 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 2022.
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 14 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.
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.
Our dear friend Helen lived to 102. Susan frequently sent gingersnaps to her at her home out west. Gingersnaps were Helens favorite cookie; they were also the beloved cookie of our grandmother Lizzie.
Here's the recipe for Gingersnaps in celebration of Helen's long life:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
Need more cookie inspiration, check out this blog post:
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food and lifestyle company.
Hear Pat's story on: