Updated: Dec 27, 2021
You won't catch my cookies with sprinkles or brightly coloured icing anymore, but it gives you a glimpse into my family's hard-core holiday baking tradition.
My family takes cookie baking pretty seriously. Every December, as far back as I remember, my mom would spend a whole Saturday at my aunt's house baking the most amazing cookies, that they'd pack into pretty cookie tins, and hand out to everyone at Christmas. When I got old enough, I got to join too! I started as the chocolate dunker, coating trays and trays of peanut butter balls. My aunt did most of the dough mixing, and my mom was usually the scooper. Every surface was covered in cookies! And we'd have to order out for lunch - it makes me cringe now, but it was such a treat to get take-out KFC (the only time I ever got it).
Even when I moved out, I still looked forward to that weekend each year. But in 2010 when I moved 4 hours away to Windsor, it became too hard to coordinate. The year this photo was taken, 2011, I baked my own cookies in Windsor, and my aunt baked in Pickering. My mom took both tins of cookies and took this photo, and submitted it to a Springbok photo challenge in 2012 and came second place!! And they turned our cookies into a puzzle! For winning my mom won a free copy of the puzzle. But I had to wait until it was released to the Hallmark store. It was so neat to walk in, and see "Photo Credit: Martha Boers" on the side of the puzzle box.
Shortly after this, my fibromyalgia really hit me and I totally changed the things I ate, and the way I baked. So now cookie baking looks a bit different. I'm still trying to convert some of our old traditional recipes, but I've got yummy new ones, where the focus is on flavour, and no more bright coloured royal icing or sprinkles (oh how I wish I could find Paleo sprinkles!!! One day I will figure out a way to make them!). Now you'll find me swooning swooning over our vegan thin mint cookies (a clean version of the Girl Scout favourite), and our multi-dimensional sweet & salty chocolate chunk cookies (still your all time fav!).
This year I'm excited to make an attempt at converting our Dutch speculaas recipe so I can enjoy it again. It was always my favourite holiday treat. It's sort of like gingerbread cake layers, sandwiching a layer of almond paste. Ever since I left Toronto, my mom has given me a loaf of it every year on Saint Nicolas day (a Dutch tradition). And it'd be so awesome to have it again!!
Does your family have any baking traditions? I'd love to hear about your too!