Welcome to our “Jolt of Joy” newsletter. Last week, Lightlz shared ways to be merry and bright. We hope that you found some holiday lights to enJOY or put some up yourself. This week, a new holiday Joyblz! named Gingerbreadlz is being featured. Gingerbreadlz reminds me of the JOY of baking Christmas gingerbread cookies. Let’s treat your holidays with Gingerbreadlz!
Some of my fondest childhood memories were of making Christmas cookies with my Mom. Christmas cookies have been a tradition in our family with recipes being passed down from one generation to the other. Of the eight different kinds of cookies my Mom and I would make, gingerbread cookies were always my favorite. Every year, I create dozens of gingerbread cookies in the shapes of Christmas trees, snowmen, gingerbread men, and snowflakes to carry on our cookie baking tradition. I drew Gingerbreadlz to honor my holiday baking memories.
Sharing my Christmas cookies and some family recipes always brings a smile to my face and warms the heart of those who take a bite into the scrumptious delights. Continue reading to download these recipes, read more about my memories, and see a life-size gingerbread house…
Baking Christmas Cookies
Who doesn’t love a wonderful, delicious, fresh cookie – especially a Christmas cookie? Just the thought of Christmas cookies brings up surprisingly vivid memories of holiday baking as a child. I can’t remember a childhood Christmas when I wasn’t in the kitchen with my Mom. She took a lot of time teaching me how to make wonderful cookies from scratch.
Her traditional Christmas cookie list included buttery, nutty Russian Tea Cakes, raspberry thumbprint cookies, bourbon balls, gingerbread cookies (rolled thin because my dad liked them that way), almond biscotti, chocolate crinkle cookies, Grandma’s Italian Cookie gems, and seven layer bars. My Mom would thumb through her 3×5″ recipe cards, many of them showing gentle smudging from Christmases past, and choose her favorites to make.
Sweet Memories with Gingerbreadlz
For the gingerbread cookies, my Mom would pull out the assorted old-fashioned metal cookie cutters, in every shape and size. We would go to work mixing, rolling, cutting out shapes and baking our cookies. We made double batches of homemade dough and used lots and lots of flour to keep it from sticking to the table. It was messy, noisy, and always so much fun! Classic Christmas music on our old record player was always playing in the background.
I still remember the wonderful aromas of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger permeating the kitchen as the cookies were baking. My Dad would always have to sample the cookies as soon as they were done. I remember him sneaking an extra one or two while we weren’t looking.
Gingerbread cookies were also the cookie of choice that we would leave for Santa with a glass of milk on Christmas eve. I was so happy each morning to see that all the cookies had been eaten!
Sharing cookies with others
Our Christmas cookie-making became an elaborate process. We made over 1000 cookies each year. My Mom would store dozens upon dozens of cookies in colorful tins and give them as gifts to family, friends, and neighbors.
As I got older, my Mom let me take on more of the baking responsibilities and cookies became my Christmas gift to others. Friends and relatives requested cookies as soon as Thanksgiving was over. They all looked forward to their own individual tins filled with my assortment of cookies.
When my parents would visit me each year for Christmas, my Mom would rate my cookies on a scale of 1-10 and she always gave them a “10!” My Mom is no longer physically here, but all I’ve learned and the joy of baking together are still present whenever I make Christmas cookies. Today, I am sharing two delicious recipes with you: gingerbread cookies and Grandma’s Italian cookie gems (click here to open and download). You can see photos of these cookies that I made here:
Gingerbread Cookie Humor
Here’s some gingerbread cookie humor to make you laugh:
Life-Size Gingerbread House
I wanted to share another tradition that I have been enJOYing in San Francisco over the past 10 years. Since I love gingerbread cookies, I have gone to the Fairmont Hotel every Christmas to view the life-size, edible gingerbread house. The 25-foot-tall, 35-foot-wide Victorian mansion is made of thousands of bricks of gingerbread, thousands of pounds of icing, and nearly a ton of candy. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is no gingerbread house this year, but you can take a virtual tour of it here:
Here’s your joy-full activity for the week
Be like Gingerbreadlz and treat yourself to the holidays. Bake some cookies and spread some JOY!
Gingerbreadlz and I would love to hear about your memories of baking cookies. What were some of your favorites? Please leave your comments and joy-full responses below.
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