Monday, December 21, 2009

Sugar for the Soul

The best of all gifts

around any Christmas tree:

the presence of a happy family

all wrapped up in each other.

~Burton Hillis

We made our beautiful, rolled cookies. They are a delight to see, to touch, to taste, and to smell. The house is full of the malty, warm aroma which says "Christmas cookie."

It's a really good thing that I made extra dough, even though it made me even more exhausted than I normally am after baking these. Our cookie process takes two days. First day, we make the dough, roll and cut the cookies, and then bake them. On the second day, we ice them.

After icing the cookies and decorating them with sprinkles, we let them dry overnight. While we sleep, the icing soaks down into the cookies and fills them with vanilla.

After the first day, my grown sons were taking the plain, unadorned cookies from the platter in little piles and dunking them into their coffee! I am so happy we are all together this Christmas that I didn't say a word.

The next morning, I slipped downstairs at 6:30 to trim the excess icing off the edges and carefully pack the cookies between layers of wax paper. A stack of cookie tins sits ready and waiting for my extended family -- this is my offering to them this year.

No one ever complains about getting our heirloom treats for their Christmas present, because these are not just pretty cookies.

They are sugar for the soul.

They wrap their goodness around us and fill the very air with bliss. They are love from our own hands -- manifested in a few inches of crisp-tender crunch and velvety icing.

They say "Merry" and "Joy to the World" and " Welcome Home" all at once.

This is why I make them, even though it makes me tired.

Are there things you doing for your family this year, because they are especially meaningful, even though it makes you tired?


  1. Making our special cut-out sugar cookies is quite a process too. But we do it (1) because it is something we enjoy to do together only at this time of year and (2) my sister and her family especially look forward to receiving these. I'm the only one in my family that makes them. So my sister loves getting them for their family Christmas gift.

  2. I too, am the cookie baker. If I don't make the cookies there would be consequences... ha ha Now that I think about it, I'm usually assigned desserts at family events as well. They know I will make it from scratch, rather than stop a grocery store bakery. This will become my legend of sorts! ha ha

    Well better get ready for day 2 of baking!


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