I hope you have been enjoying some of our holiday traditions and memories. Unless you are Marilu Henner, “one of only 12 people in the world diagnosed with hyperthymesia, also known as Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory,” you probably don’t remember all the gifts you received as a child during the Christmas holiday.
Oh, I am sure you remember the big ones, like your first bike, or maybe a special electronic device, or a piece of jewelry passed down from a relative, but not every gift. But I bet you remember your family traditions with no problem at all – like opening gifts on Christmas Eve, or midnight services, or the special ornament that you made your mother, that always had a special spot on the tree. Traditions, no matter what the holiday, are the threads that bind families together and one part of family traditions is the food that we eat. I have already shared my family’s Stack Cake which my mother frequently made, along with Orange Slice Cake. But the holidays weren’t complete without cookies.
Growing up we typically had at least two types of cookies, sometimes three. We always had the perennial favorite – iced sugar cookies in Christmas shapes like stars or Santa, and later Snickerdoodle cookies because my mother and brothers loved them. My favorite varied from Oatmeal Raisin cookies to Oatmeal Scotchies, oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips.
When my niece came to visit one Christmas, I decided to continue my mother’s tradition of iced sugar cookies. Now I am not a gourmet cook, but I am a skilled cookie maker, so it never dawned on me that the cookies wouldn’t taste good. However, they were horrible. Little did I know that if you handle the dough too much that it becomes tough. From then one, I decided I was going to stick with what I know best, which is drop cookies.
I love the variety of this type of cookie. You can take you basic peanut butter cookie recipe and add peanuts to it, or Reese’s pieces or do like LinnieGayl and top it with a Hershey’s Kiss. With oatmeal you can add chocolate chips or coconut or raisins or butterscotch chips. Really the only limitation is your imagination.
A couple of years ago I was baking cookies to send overseas to our soldiers. I was experimenting and came across the recipe for White Chocolate Macadamia and Cranberry cookies. I made those and liked them okay – because you know you have to taste the cookies – but thought they were a little sweet. I still had some dried cranberries left and dark chocolate chips and decided that was going to be my next cookie variation. And they were wonderful. As of right now they are my favorite drop cookie. I just use the basic recipe off the package of the chips and then added cranberries. I did find the recipe after the fact on allrecipes.com so of course I didn’t invent this variation but with drop cookies you do feel so creative.
|1/2 cup butter, softened (I always use vegetable shortening)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
|1.||Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.|
|2.||In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. You can use brandy instead of vanilla for Christmas cookies and some people prefer the visual effect of the white chocolate chips. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the dark chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.|
|3.||Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.|
– – Leigh AAR