We hosted a party last night, so I baked on Friday. I made butter cookies, sugar cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies. A few weeks before, I had made blonde brownies, peanut butter blossoms and fudge brownies, which I put in the freezer. Last weekend I made double-chocolate crinkle cookies.
I like to bring the cookies to the office for a sweet holiday treat. I also enjoy giving them to friends and neighbors as a home-baked gift. And while the act of sharing goodies is an important part of the holidays for me, I also bake those cookies for quite selfish reasons.
When I make cookies, it’s my family history that rises to the top.
When I cream the butter and sugar together, I’m suddenly six years old and standing on a chair in my mother’s kitchen, proudly using a mixer for the first time, her hands guiding the appliance and holding the brown. The smell of blonde brownies conjures up my grandmother’s house at the holidays and memories of searching for cookies in her kitchen. A mother of four, she knew how to hide the cookies so young and not-so-young children would not eat them all before the season ended.
Sugar cookies remind me of creative decoration sessions with friends, where we giggled as we gave the gingerbread people racy lingerie. They also take me back to my son’s childhood, when I bought dinosaur and cow cookie cutters because, cows and dinosaurs. And my mother, in total comprehension, sent rocket ship, airplane, moose and T. Rex ones to add to the collection.
The smell of simmering raisins, measuring peanut butter for peanut butter blossoms using the water displacement method, kneading food coloring into the butter cookie dough — all of these senses and actions connect to specific memories and parts of my past that, when woven together, create the tapestry of who I am today.
Even if no one is in my house while I am baking, I am never alone when I am making holiday cookies. Baking always brings me back home, no matter where I am.
You can find recipes for all of the cookies mentioned above at https://lutzfamilycookbook.wordpress.com/.