Christmas Cookies!

For the past 19 years my aunts, uncles, cousins and their families and friends have come to my house on the Saturday after Thanksgiving with bowls of homemade cookie dough to roll out or form into balls, or slice, or drop from a spoon, then bake and decorate.

We all have fond memories of grandma’s cookie jar so we often make our old favorites, like snickerdoodles, hermit cookies, and pfeffernusse. Our foremothers were excellent bakers and we were all good bowl cleaners. We also did our share of cookie decorating.

Alas, our foremothers and forefathers are gone now and we are the older family members carrying on our family traditions while our children’s children clean the bowls and learn to decorate cookies.

This year we had a new crop of 2- to 10-year-olds to decorate our sugar cookies.

Note the empty bottle of sprinkles at the upper middle (… one of many). As you can guess these were eaten with joy by those who decorated them. (Thanks for Nicolas Nocker for this photo.)

Here’s a close up of one of my favorite masterworks of cookie art.

And another.

Those who were three-years-old at our first Cookie Bake are now 22 and have become really sophisticated bakers. Lauren, for example, made salted caramel snickerdoodles this year. Grandma would have swooned over those cookies. They didn’t even make it to a cookie jar.

We try out new recipes, experiment, help each other with doughs that come out too stiff or too soft, and get caught up on events of the past year while we work together in the kitchen. What I really love hearing is that it’s the grandchildren who make sure that my cousins remember to come each year.