Good morning Peter. This post is for you, and any others interested in food in general, and our Christmas cookies in particular. You can’t pull them off the screen, so get your own breakfast before we begin.
I apologise for blurry photos. This post is a learning experience in publishing pictures. It runs down a long way. I wanted large pictures for detail, but there’s not much text.
These are cookie nests – chocolate drops pushed into balls of dough. Our chiropractor and his family prefer milk chocolate, while we like the darker. I took the picture below first, before I realized we had one light one left. We also made a batch with mint chocolate drops, but apparently the last of them followed the daughter home.
More dark chocolate cookie nests. Even with a fast digital camera, I manage to get fuzzy photos.
These are the Maple Sugar flavored shortbreads. The wife found a correctly-sized maple leaf cookie cutter, and I used a small steel cookie spatula to lightly carve in fake veining.
These are some of the hard meringues, two of each flavor. Grated dark chocolate and hazelnut ones on the bottom left, almonds and Skor Bits at the top, and chopped cherry and coconut at bottom right.
These are the Oat Delights. No-bake cookies, they’re easy to make and yummy. Put grated chocolate in a glass bowl in a pot with a bit of boiling water in the bottom, to melt the chocolate. Mix in the other ingredients, dollop out in spoonfuls on waxed paper, and let set. These, and the meringues above, are the no-flour cookies the grandson can have without allergy problems.
True Scottish shortbreads, just like Grandma used to make. After much practice, Granma Ladybug makes them just as good. Five different basic shapes – winter mitt, holly leaf, Christmas tree, star and plain circle. The pictures don’t show as much detail as I’d hoped. Again, I used the cookie spatula to cut in a cuff line on the mitts, a center vein on the holly, a Chrysler star out to the vertices of the star, and just an X on the discs. It makes them easy to break into four mouth-sized pieces. I used the end of a chop-stick to indent small holes in the Christmas trees, to simulate decorative balls.
These are some of the spritz cookie shapes I pushed out of the cookie press. You may notice that some of them were from the first batch, and got a little too brown. They’re not burnt, but are not cosmetically acceptable as gifts, so we get to keep and enjoy them. As you can see, different sized and colored decorative balls (dragees), mini M&M candy, as well as slivers of red and green glazed cherries are used to brighten them up.
A few of the shapes of iced and decorated sugar cookies we made. Making and baking is quick and easy. The icing and decorating takes far longer, but we use the time for some family togetherness, silliness and stress relief. Note the results my steady hands produce on the candy canes. The wife sprinkled a little of the Maple Sugar on the reindeer to produce a fur effect.
Some more of the iced sugar cookie shapes. I can slather red, green or white on wreaths or snowflakes. The son helps his mom dress up the wreaths, bells and Christmas trees after she’s done with reindeer. She puts names on all the stockings. The dressing of the boy- and girl-cookies falls mostly to LadyRyl. These are just the extra ones we bake in case one of the ones intended for gifts might break, so these are the plain ones. If I’m still around next Christmas, perhaps I could slip a couple of pictures of the more ornate ones in with a post about motorcycles or sewage disposal.
These are called thumbprint cookies, glazed cherry halves pushed down into walnut coated dough balls. Of all the cookies we make, by a narrow margin, these are my favorite. I could, but don’t, eat these by the dozen. There is absolutely no taste difference between red and green cherries, and my mouth can’t see….but I like the red ones. Granma Ladybug is partial to the green ones.
Last, but not least, we have what we call Yule Logs. The dough is similar to the spritz, cookie nests and thumbprint. (They are all shortbread types.) Form small cylinders and bake, next day, someone with a steadier hand than mine (see The Wife, above) dips them in more melted chocolate, and puts them aside to cool and set.
Granma Ladybug said that my contribution to this industry is my ability to put the cookies in the oven, take them out to cool and then pack them into the containers. Wife says without this assistance, she would be very hard pressed to do this.
We feel we can do this for at least one more year, and hopefully beyond. Friends and family enjoy these, but our caring Chiropractor and his family receive the single largest donation. They are overly generous in return. Half a fruitcake goes along to ride shotgun. No photos were available because it’s shy and wishes to remain anonymous.