Friday, January 3, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder writes of Christmas in one of her book. I recall that one of the previous gifts was an orange. How different Christmas gifts are now when many children receive Wiis and iPods. Yet parts are the same even in the differences.
The making of Grandma cookies is reserved for Christmas time. They earned their name because only Dad's mother, my grandmother, ever made them. In my small world.
So in a effort to continue the tradition of Pfeffer Nuss (pepper nuts) I create a couple batches before Christmas. On the wall hangs a large wooden bowl in which grandma probably mixed the ingredients with a wooden spoon like the one in the crock by the stove. I, however, use a KitchenAid mixer. I don't remember seeing her drop the thick cookie batter onto the cookie sheets but whereas I drop the batter from a spoon she might have rolled the batter into smooth balls. Her cookies were smoother.
After the baking and cooling process, it's time for the chocolate frosting. The difference here is that she dropped the cookies into the bowl of chocolate and coated all surfaces including her hands. I dip the top of the cookie into the chocolate and knock off the excess with a spoon. While licking the chocolate from my fingers is a great joy, I don't find the same joy in emerging my hands completely in the chocolate.
Baking is both a joy of the moment and a connection to the past, but eating them is not recommended for a slender waistline and so the variety we enjoyed as children are not on today's agenda. Sugar cookies with colored powdered sugar frosting and sparkling candies continue to grace the kitchen around Christmas as well as a batch of gingerbreads. Others come rarely and exist mostly in memories.
Each Christmas will start a new tradition which will last far into the future. One we offer is a braided bread with strands of three types of bread, white, whole wheat and rye. Looking back fifty years from now our descendants will talk about grandma's braided breads. As well as grandpa's grandma cookies.