Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I'm not sure how long it has been a tradition in my family to make Christmas cookies. My grandma made an assortment each year and I'll never forget her Anise cookies and Marzipan. Two of my favorites.

As a family we had a tradition of making boxes of cookies for our teachers at school. Usually there was just one or two teachers in grade school. Then in Jr High and High School we picked all the teachers we liked best, and we did the same in college, and I gave cookies in my workplace too! This is why my mom has had to make more and more cookies every year.

I'll try to remember everything she makes: sugar cookies (with fantastic, elaborate decorations!), peanut butter blossoms, snowballs, wreaths, spritz, hermits, baklava, and fudge. I'm sure if I'm forgetting something my mom will comment to remind me!

Each of us kids has our favorites and this year I made the three I like the best. (No boxes of cookies in the mail from my mom. We tried that last year and they arrived in many small pieces!)

First and foremost: peanut butter blossoms. You start out rolling them into little balls:

After they've cooked for a few minutes they start collapsing down and getting cracks.

Then you push in a chocolate star (NOT a Hershey's kiss! Ack!) and they are the tastiest best cookies ever!

Next are Spritz. They are flavored with almond extract which is probably why I like them so much.

And lastly, wreaths. These have cream cheese in them and the little red hots. I can't quite describe what it is I like about these. They are just tasty. These and the Spritz are both made with a cookie press.

Why are you so tasty little wreath!?

It turns out a neighbor of ours grew up with the tradition of giving out cookies too. She and I met a couple days ago and made some of these cookies and some of her recipes. In another day or so we'll put together plates of cookies and deliver them to neighbors on this block. Yay for new traditions!


Karin McAdams said...

I'm glad to hear - no corn flakes in those little wreaths! They're gorgeous, as is everything else. I'm planning to help Max and then John Martin make sugar cookies, but for aesthetic effect, I take off my hat to you and your mother.

Mom said...

Grandma Leedy always made cookies for neighbors and friends, because her mom, Marie Hansen always made cookies for neighbors and friends, as her mother did back in Arhus, Denmark. I think the tradition goes back in my family a long, long time. At least in the United States since the 1920's. Grandma always made spritz - they are in her handwritten "receipt" book. And a type of rolled sugar cookie, but mine are on steroids! Grandma Jayne added the peanut butter blossoms in the 1960's. And the mint surprise came off the back of a ghiradelli box of mint wafers in the 1960s. You also forgot hermits, which are Grandpa Leedys fav's; those have been around at least since the 1930's. And thumb cookies, which everyone loves but you. When Grandma Leedy passed, she left her Royal Copenhagen porcelain thimble to Aaron - used only once a year to make thumb cookies, because he loved them so much. I added the baklava when I learned to make it after living in Greece. So, the current selection of cookies has been in our immediate family since 1976 - that is your whole entire life! Remember the year in the green house where i told you we had the money for gifts, or the money to make cookies for friends, but I couldn't do both? And you kids chose doing cookies. I am in the cookie zone now, but almost done.

Aimee said...

Mint surprise! I forgot all about those. Probably because of the walnuts. Yech. =)
And thumb cookies - more walnuts. gag, gag! =)

(I didn't forget hermits, they're sixth in my list - even though they have raisins, gross!)

I thought we had a choice between a christmas tree or cookies? Either way, I do remember choosing the cookies.

Thanks for the history, I didn't realize it went back so far!

Jessica (your sister) said...

I am with Aimee, Mom said cookies or a Christmas tree and we chose cookies. I believe that is the year we made a paper tree to hang on the wall and put our presents at the base of it. Oh, and I also dislike the thumb cookies and the snowballs, but I think that is more a texture thing cause I like walnuts just fine.

Aimee said...

It wasn't a paper tree. We stapled pine garland to the wall in the shape of a tree. Kind of sad, but it did the trick. =)

I did recently see some folks who cut out a cardboard triangle, tree-like, and hung it with lights. It looked really cool.

Nerdylips said...

We ALSO once had a paper tree... we've had both a paper tree and the pine garland tree.
Because those trees go better with our fireplace! :)

And Thumb cookies are the BEST! I can't believe you don't even like them for the delicious almond frosting!

Aimee said...

I know - I love almond flavor so much you think I could get past the walnuts. But no. =)