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Monday, November 29, 2010

Time for

Christmas Cookies! Yes my friends it is that time of year, the time of year that I longling wish for a bigger kitchen with more space to store the delicious little morsels that I've been making since I was about 7 years old (probably earlier but I don't remember those early years much).

Long before I had a family of my own, back before I had children of my own, before my parents separated and divorced, back when my little world was perfect Mother and I would begin our Christmas baking the day after Thanksgiving. We spend Thanksgiving with friends because Daddy was always working, but we would leave supper just in time to drive to Daddy's work and watch him light up his Christmas tree! Then Black Friday when all the world was shopping, Mommy and I would put on our aprons, tie them up tight, drag out all the bins and containers and tins that would hold our supplies and our creations, pull out the pans and racks and bowls and spoons, rifle the cabinets to find all the sprinkes, and piping tips, and decorations, fill the sink with hot soapy water for washing, and clear the giant kitchen table to begin our holiday baking.

We would pull out the recipe file and remove every cookie recipe we had and sort them into 3 piles: cookies that bake at 350, cookies that bake at 375, and cookies that bake at 400. This was important because each day the cookies we made would all bake at the same temperature! Black Friday was never a school day so that meant that we would have time for at least 3 batches of cookies (usually 4 or 5), beginning with Friday Mommy and I would make at least one batch of cookies every.single.day!

Living in Pennsylvania had it's advantages, being so cold that time of year meant that we could package our cookies neatly in those large popcorn tins and store them in the garage because the cold air would keep the cookies fresh and delicious as the day they came out of the oven. It also kept them neat and orderly for packaging into smaller tins and baskets to give to teachers, friends, neighbors, and others who so kindly serve us throughout the year (bank tellers, our mailman, our garbage man).

Each year my boys and I make some cookies, no where near the quantity Mommy and I did, but we do bake. I do not make the same quantity of cookies as my mother for several reasons but the number one reason is lack of space. I do not have storage space for 10-20 large popcorn tins full of cookies, and I do not have the space to lay out my ingredients and such the way I am used to doing it.

You see, I learned my baking procedures from my Mother and this is how we do it:
Step 1: Read your recipe(s) and make a list of all ingredients you will need
Step 2: Check your cabinets for the ingredients and make a list of all ingredients you will need to buy
Step 3: Shop for ingredients, buying in large bulk quantities wherever possible because we will use it all!
Step 4: Choose which recipe(s) will be made today
Step 5: Lay each ingredient (in it's jar, box, bag, or can) neatly along the back side of the Kitchen Table (This often meant two rows depending on the cookie)
Step 6: Follow the recipe to make first batch of cookies
Step 7: While the first cookies are baking wash dishes from the first cookies
Step 8: Take cookies from the oven and transfer to racks to cool
Step 9: Repeat steps 6 - 8 as many times as you have recipes to make for the day
Step 10: Clean up and put everything away

Living in an apartment does not afford much space and so because I am unable to lay out my ingredients as I was taught from just a little girl I feel stressed and frazzled when I bake because my organization is not there. We do bake, but I tend to stick to the simpler recipes that require few ingredients and that I can get done in a short period of time, spending hours baking in the kitchen is just not an option because of lack of space. I can certainly tell you that the very first year we spend in a home large enough to allow me to bake as I was taught will be a year we all gain 20 pounds eating all the goodies I'm sure to go crazy making!

Mother and I made so many cookies that often we were eating them well into February or March, some of the cookies we made I'd never seen before or since, but they were all delicious! Somehow we never really got pictures while we had everything out baking, but I will dig a bit and see if I can't find a few pictures of the chaos that was holiday baking. I do have all the old photo albums so I'll go through and see if I can't find a few good shots to share (provided my computer will cooperate with my scanner because the photos are of course back in the age of *gasp* 35mm FILM *oh the horror of it all*)

Birbitt thinks that the best part of the Christmas season is sharing the Joy of Christ and the family memories and traditions that make the holidays special for each person in a different way! Won't you all share some of your favorite holiday traditions (you can share here or on your own blog, I'll find it!)

1 comment:

  1. I posted a new cookie recipe today. Are you going to share one of your favorites?


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