‘Tis the season to drag your loved ones into the kitchen and force some cookie slave labor onto them. Some people actually like making Christmas cookies; I am not one of them.
A good friend of mine spent his Thanksgiving trying out different cookie recipes and skipped making a feast. He ended up with a bonanza of cookies and no turkey.
It just doesn’t sit right with me. Granted, he probably also had his Christmas tree up at the same time as Halloween decorations — the guy bleeds jolly.
Some of my earliest memories are of getting dragged into the kitchen and forced to have a “fun time” making holiday cookies. We would spend most of the day making sugar cookies and decorating them, then shipping them off to relatives. Included in the cookie packages were homemade movies showing our progress growing up.
It is hard for me to believe that a lot of people alive now have always had cellphones and the internet in their lives. Back in those days, you got out the 800-pound over-the-shoulder video camera and made some home movies on VHS. Then you shipped them off because you had no other way to show that kind of thing. It was that or piling in a car or on the plane. These days you just upload a video to Facebook and you are good. Easy.
That swing in technology got me thinking about the cookie situation. Do people still make hand-decorated sugar cookies and send them off to grandparents? I like to imagine they sat around eating them watching my brother and I make fools of ourselves in the snow.
Maybe I will put some videos on a USB drive and send them with a cookie package so my kids’ grandparents can experience that.
That is, only if they want to make them. Being forced to make cookies really takes the joy out of it, but I understand why we were made to now. It wasn’t about us but our grandparents who saw us maybe once a year.
So maybe we will make some badly decorated sugar cookies topped with tears when they are older. It’s not about them, after all!
In any case, here is a recipe to my all-time favorite Christmas cookies. They take a while, but it is all worth it in the end.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting
1. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add in the vanilla, water, flour and almonds in that order and beat until well blended and all the ingredients are well combined and firm.
3. Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Shape the dough into balls of 1.5- to 2-inch diameter. Place the rolled dough portions on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until you notice slight cracks on the surface and the cookies are turning golden in color.
7. Remove and place on a cooling rack.
8. Once the Mexican Wedding Cookies have cooled completely, dust them completely in powdered sugar.