Sunday, November 20, 2011

OBA Blog Swap-Christmas Cookie Memories

Today bloggers from all over NE Ohio are guest posting on each other's blogs as a way to meet other bloggers in our community and to introduce you to someone you may enjoy following. As part of today's Ohio Blogging Association's November Blog Swap, I'm thrilled to introduce you to Morgan of Becoming Rooks!  We didn't know each other before this swap and I've really enjoyed reading about her adventures in Japan and how she strives to combine her foodie nature with a healthy lifestyle. To check out all the other participants, you can go to the OBA's Facebook page or head over to Poise In Parma for a full list. Here's Morgan's touching post about a special cookie and the memories it evokes...

Hey readers! 
I am really excited to be participating in the OBA blogger swap and getting to know Crystal and her fabulous blog. In a nod to the super awesome Christmas cookie exchange that Crystal is participating in, we decided to blog about our favorite Christmas cookies. This is actually a really bittersweet topic for me at the moment. My grandmother passed away just a week ago today and it was one of her cookies that was my absolute favorite.
Ever since I was a little girl my gram always made the exact same batch of cookies every Christmas. I think that will be one of the most enduring images that I will hold on to when I think back on her. Old fashioned round metal tins painted with Christmas images; kitchy 1960s Christmas platters; all well taken care of and piled high with cookies. Puffy, round Russian Tea Cakes, with their delicate dusting of powdered sugar and their subtle buttery, nutty, melt-in-your-mouth taste. Delicate kolacky, little squares of pastry folded gently over fruit filling like apricot, raspberry, and lemon.  (I only ever ate the ones filled with ground nut paste, though!) Trees and wreaths in shades of light green and pink, because the red and dark green faded after baking, extruded from a cookie press. The trees were always topped with a few red and green sprinkles and little flower shapes were kissed in the center with a maraschino cherry.

My all time favorites though? They were nothing particularly out of the ordinary. In fact, there’s a good chance your grandmother made them, too. Thumbprints. Also known as Polish Tea Cakes. Not the peanut butter cookie ones so many people make now, but the old fashioned kind. Simple, rolled in nuts. She made both jelly filled and Hershey Kiss filled. The Hershey Kiss ones, those were my favorite. Equal parts savory nuts and sweet chocolate. It was always a little challenging getting the perfect balance of cookie and Kiss without the Kiss completely falling off the cookie, so sometimes I would just pop the whole thing in my mouth in a very unladylike fashion. I liked them so much so that my grandmother made a few dozen and had my parents ship them to me in college. (I was very popular with my floor mates!)

When I graduated from college and got my own place, I went about making my own Christmas cookies. I would pour over books, magazines and websites in search of the perfect cookie. I would craft new creations out of the finest ingredients and taking the utmost care. Those cookies were wonderful, but what I realize now is that it’s not uniqueness or the expensive Madagascar bourbon that makes a cookie great. It’s the love that went into them and the memories that accompany them. This year it will be my turn to carry on my gram’s love and memory as I imprint each cookie and carefully place a Hershey’s Kiss. I only hope they taste half as good. 

If you are a blogger or someone who is a fan of blogging, check out OBA for upcoming events including a local cookie swap being held at our next meeting on Dec.5th.


  1. Morgan, so sorry for your loss. Your gram will be so proud as you carry on her cookie traditions!

  2. I can't stop thinking about my grandmother's kolaches now. She made every flavor you could think of - the poppyseed ones were always my favorite. Even though she share the recipe, no one can recreate them to 100% perfection.

    Sending you much love. Thanks for participating in the OBA Blog Swap!

  3. I hope sharing your "sweet" memories with us proved cathartic in your time of mourning. What a lovely story!

  4. Dip a dry measuring cup into the ingredient and sweep away the excess with a straight-edged tool, such as an icing spatula.


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