Mom’s Christmas Cookies
If Dad produced odd German spicy treats every year (as my recent post talked about), my mother could be depended on for the kinds of cookies you could give to the postman without imagining his puzzled look. Mostly sweet, best eaten fresh, and decorative.
Some were super-sweet, like her “Matrimonials.” She produced decorated butter cookies, of course (usually with margarine—butter was a rare visitor to my childhood table) that were rolled out, iced with background white buttercream frosting (margarine-cream?) and decorated with a frosting gun to emphasize the outlines of the boot, the Santa, or the star cookie cutters. And Spritz cookies, a recipe that probably came from Betty Crocker, that were pushed through a cookie press to make trees or wreaths, then sprinkled with colored sugar.
She liked to make “candy cane” cookies, using a basic sugar cookie dough, half of it dyed red (or rather, pink, since she’d never seen the proper, intense dye used by professional bakers) and shaped on the board into rolls the thickness of crayons, then twisted round a roll of the white dough and finished with the top curled over.
Later she discovered a lovely Finnish almond-cookie recipe whose name she relished pronouncing (or more likely, mispronouncing)—Suomalaiset Puikot—that became a great hit with postman and family alike.
And later yet, a bar cookie that combined the best qualities of pumpkin and pecan pies. One of the few Christmas cookies my grown kids still like, and even ask for. In fact, I’m making a batch of those tomorrow. Assuming I can still decipher her handwriting….
So, what do you give your postman this time of year?