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!