The Christmas Cookie Project
Back when I was a kid, my dad would carpool to work with this guy named Richie. Every Christmas, Richie’s wife would send our family a plate of butter cookies shaped like trees and stars, decorated with candied red cherries and sprinkles.
At that young age, I was used to Turkish holiday desserts like gelatinous cubes that left a trail of powdered sugar on your sweater and Jordan almonds so hard to chew they needed a warning label. So, to me, Richie’s wife’s simple butter cookies were pretty magical. I assumed the recipe was only known to Richie’s wife and a handful of other people (mostly little grandmothers who were reluctant to share the recipe for fear of it being altered).
Alas, Richie and my dad stopped carpooling together and the cookie supply stopped. It wasn’t until last December that the cookies came back into my life. That’s when my Guideposts colleague Celia Gibbons sent an email to the office entitled “Cookies.”
I am typically hungry at all hours of the day, so I clicked the email open, intrigued. “Homemade butter cookies in the kitchen!” the email said. I headed there and found a plate of cookies shaped like trees and stars, decorated with candied red cherries and sprinkles. The very ones I’d loved so much as a kid.
I interrogated Celia about them and learned they were quite common. They even had a fancy name. Spritz cookies. Apparently, Richie’s wife was just one of possibly millions who knew the recipe. And those magical tree and star shapes? They were created with the help of a cookie press. Shocking!
I ate about half of Celia’s cookies, then forgot all about them. This past November, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a video of someone demonstrating how to make Spritz cookies. I was overcome by a sudden thought: If you make the cookies, others will be happy. Maybe I could spread holiday cheer through my favorite cookies!
I ordered the Spritz cookie press and bought the ingredients. The holidays got busy, though, and I always had an excuse for not making them (like the fact that I’m not a very good cook!). As much as I resisted, though, the thought kept coming back. Make the cookies!
So, after dragging my feet about it, I’ve decided to listen to that inner voice and make the cookies. I’ve also issued myself a challenge. To gift the cookies not just to friends and family, but to those I’m not particularly friendly with. After all, ‘tis the season to make new friends.
I’ll report back on the results of my little cookie project after Christmas. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you–how are you spreading cheer this holiday season?