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 Olivia's Christmas cookies at age of 5

Here is Olivia at age four

Children love baking cookies for Santa. Start with something simple. Give them help with the oven, but don't interfere. What you will both discover is they enjoy decorating cookies the most. Live for the moment, don't mind the mess, the years go by fast. In the end you will forget how the cookies fared. You will look back and remember only the time you spent together. 

The year was 1989.  2 days before Christmas. I was sick. Peter and Leilah did the entire Christmas baking

After close to five decades of Christmas baking, I concluded that quality is more important than quantity. That elaborate cookie decoration is no substitution for delicious flavour and perfect texture. We all heard the comment, "these will look good on the platter", but if the cookie is boring, nobody will want to eat it. People’s idea of what constitutes a good cookie of course is different. I too have my preferences. I don’t like mint, carob, whole wheat, ginger, applesauce, chili, mashed beans, low fat, no fat or artificial sweeteners in my cookies. The healthy cookie is an oxymoron. Christmas cookies should be melt-in-the-mouth buttery and rich with top grade, pure ingredients.

The trick is not to make more than one batch from any cookie. If you must, at least write a recalculated ingredient list and don’t assume that you will remember to double or triple every item without it. One of the reasons I omit baking times are the inevitable variables. The oven, the baking pan, the size, the number and the thickness of the cookies all determine baking time. These can change from one batch to the next. Most cookies will bake for at least ten minutes, so I set the timer for ten, check on it, and then keep underestimating the remaining baking time and resetting the timer. Sometimes I have to set the timer for one or two minutes several times. I use a timer though. If the aroma of baking cookies finds my nose, it is a good bet that they are overdone.

Let the cookies cool down completely, chocolate has to set before packing into tins. It is always a good idea to place individual cookies in paper wrappers. Use small cupcake liners or bon-bon sized paper cups. Think it through how you want to store them. Repacking makes the cookies and the liners look worn and unappetizing. When packing, avoid smearing the liners or the neighbouring cookies with chocolate. Cover each cookie layer with parchment paper. Parchment paper holds up better than wax paper. Delicate cookies don't really belong in the cookie tin. Don’t keep cookies at room temperature overnight, most cookies go stale within one day.

Happy Baking and have a Merry Christmas!  



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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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