Snow Day

I was pretty certain last night that there would be no school today.  I got up at 6 anyway to check the school websites. By 6:30 it was clear; no school.  That means grandchildren here all day.  Not the best conditions for getting the writing done.

So, it was time to turn the house into a cookie factory.  We do this every Christmas.  Gingerbread, spritz, peanut butter cookies.  Joe Froggers, snickerdoodles, meringues and divinity.  Sugar cookies, stained glass cookies, marzipan.  Peanut clusters, mincemeat bars.

I have my mom’s old Betty Crocker cookie book.  She liked to write in her cookbooks.  So I can tell you that in 1969, she made peanut butter cookies at Christmas.  And that my brother Steve liked Joe Froggers.  All the little notations in her handwriting are there, sometimes just the year, other times little notes about cookies that didn’t turn out as nice as expected.  I’ve carried on her tradition.  This year, when my granddaughter asked for Snickerdoodles on her 8th birthday, we opened the book and found out that her Auntie Ruth had Snickerdoodles on her 8th birthday.  So we’re almost starting a tradition with that. Turn 8, get a Snickerdoodle.

We were and are a big family.  It calls for prodigious amounts of cookies.  I remember one year that my mom bought a brand new galvanized garbage can. Probably about a 25 gallon size.  And she filled it with cookies, layer upon layer upon layer of different kinds of cookies. 

And we ate them all, over the course of Christmas and the twelve days of Christmas. Some were sent off to Viet Nam that year. We had friends serving.  We also made them Christmas candles.  These consisted of taking the little individual serving sizes of liquor bottles, tying a bit of string to be the wick, and dipping them in wax until they looked like lumpy home made candles, and sending them off to Joey and Howie.

I won’t make a garbage can full of cookies.  We all know far too much these days about saturated fats and white sugar and cholesterol.  So I’ll only make about half a garbage can full.  That should do.

It’s supposed to snow again tonight, a heavier layer.  I suspect they’ll cancel school again.  No problem.

There’s a big double batch of gingerbread dough chilling in the refrigerator. It has about 3 times as much ginger as the recipe called for.  Tomorrow, we will roll them out and cut them out and put all sorts of sprinkles and decorations on them before we bake them.  And maybe we’ll do sugar cookies as well, and paint them with egg-yolk paint and hang some on the tree. 

Last night, I emptied the last of the rum over the fruit cakes and wrapped them up again.  They were made last Christmas.  After Christmas, I’ll make next  year’s fruit cakes and start mellowing them with — what?  How about Drambuie? That made really nice fruit cakes one year.  Or maybe I’ll use apricot brandy again.

And so this is Christmas
And what have you done?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve made a ton of cookies with my grandchildren.  And I’m loving Christmas just as much as I ever did.

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  • Your post made my day. With all the doom and gloom in the news it was refreshing to read about your Mom’s cookbook and your cookie traditions. Merry Christmas!

  • habiliments says:

    This post made me want to make a lot of cookies for other people’s children and grandchildren.

    Perhaps a certain little bird who reads these comments could use some.

  • erikh says:

    The gingerbread has turned into Christmas dinorsaurs. This is what happens when one gets new cookie cutters shaped like dinosaurs.

    Red and green tyrsannosaurus rex! Very festive.


  • erikh says:

    You can never go wrong baking cookies for anyone!


  • erikh says:

    I think if a book is good enough to keep and pass along, then one should write in it, too. Or at least leave interesting things trapped between the pages. Allowing yourself to write in your books can be oddly freeing.

    And a Merry Christmas to you, too.


  • rixelstudios says:


    Here’s a recipe you can try if you so desire. Nothing too complex, but really tasty!

    1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Farhenheit.
    2. In a mixing bowl, add 3/4 Cup Cocoa, 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda and 1/3 Cup of Vegetable Oil. Mix until liquidy.
    3. Add 1/2 Cup of boiling water and stir until the mixture is no longer “pudding-like”.
    4. Into the mixing bowl, now add the 1 Cups of White Sugar, 1 Cup of Brown Sugar, 1 1/2 Cups of Flour, 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt, 2 Eggs, another 1/3 Cup of Vegetable Oil and 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla. Mix ingredients together thoroughly.
    5. When completely mixed, pour the mixture evenly into a standard 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
    6. Place in oven and cook for approximately 22 to 24 minutes* or until brownies begin to pull away from the edge of the pan.
    7. Remove from oven and let brownies sit for 5 minutes. Once done, eat and enjoy!

  • erikh says:

    Re: Brownies!

    Sounds like a good one!