If you’ve spent any time with me or spent any time reading this blog, you should know I love sweets. Sweets of all kinds, but especially cookies. (And if you attended my wedding, you no doubt learned that my family hails from West Virginia/Western Pennsylvania, loves cookies and cherishes all kinds of baked goods, as we hosted a cookie table at the reception.)
My love for cookies goes way back to my childhood.
And my love for Christmas cookies? Well, it goes that far back, too. My family has a strong tradition of holiday baking – for any and every holiday (Fourth of July cookies? Heck yes!) – but Christmas baking is particularly special. The week leading up to Christmas, we spend hours in the kitchen mixing, rolling, tasting and baking our favorite recipes. As a child, my sister and I were delegated to unwrapping the Hershey Kisses, and as we got older, we were assigned different jobs like putting the cookies in the oven, taking them out of the oven, transferring raw cookie dough onto the sheet pan without half the cookies going missing, etc.
To this day, we bake the same cookies yearly. And to this day, I look forward to the week before Christmas because of this.
When I was a sophomore in college, I first dabbled in solo baking. I had no kitchen at the time because I lived in the sorority house, and we weren’t allowed to cook in the kitchen. Apparently, there was a very strong possibility that one of the 60 girls living in the house would burn the whole place down. (True story. I can name a few girls who are absolute menaces in the kitchen, even though they are lovely people otherwise.) I was also an art major at the time, meaning I had turned in all my final projects during “dead week” and had no exams. While my friends were studying, I wanted something to do and thought that it might be nice to make cookies for everyone.
So, anyway, being without a kitchen and the necessary supplies, I purchased some flour, sugar and other required baking accoutrements, headed over to my (sorority) big sister’s condo and baked dozens upon dozens of cookies for friends as Christmas presents. I baked for three days straight to have enough cookies, and the end result astounded me. The cookies were a huge hit with my friends, and I’ve been baking my versions of my family’s favorite Christmas cookie recipes ever since.
I’m starting my holiday baking tomorrow here in Baton Rouge, and I have no doubt when I go home that I will continue baking with my mother, my sister and my father, too.
So, in celebration of Christmastime and the baking that will inevitably happen during this coming week, I want to introduce…
Next week is officially Christmas Cookie Week 2011. (And mucho, mucho thanks to Renee for suggesting a Cookie Carnival!) I have at least five favorite recipes I will be sharing with y’all, and I want to invite y’all to participate, too!
All you have to do is bake one (or more!) of your favorite holiday cookie recipes, post it on your blog and then send me an e-mail with a link to your post. At the end of each day next week, I’ll go through my inbox, copy and paste your links into my post for the following day to share your favorite recipes with everyone. On Christmas Eve, I will post a final round-up with all the recipes that have been baked and shared.
I’ll meet y’all back here on Sunday with the first of my recipes for Christmas Cookie Week 2011, and I hope you join me in this baking fiesta! It is gonna be a great time!
Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her…