When I was a younger and still living at home, my maternal grandmother used to come from Winnipeg to visit at Christmas, every other year. She’d come a couple weeks before Christmas and leave before New Year’s, and in the time leading up to the holiday, she’d fill the house with baking. Everything from butter tarts to shortbread to pies. I can remember sitting in the kitchen with her on many occasions, desperate to try a warm cookie or tart, fresh from the oven, only to have my knuckles rapped for the attempt. The treats were for Christmas, I was told.
It’s difficult to recall those days, not just because they were so long ago, but because she’s so different now. She suffered a stroke about ten years back and her health and energy have been deteriorating steadily since then. She can’t travel as easily, and chooses not to, for the most part, and I’m certain she doesn’t bake at all anymore. Considering that so many of my memories of her involve the warmth of the kitchen, I have trouble with that most of all. Maybe that seems trivial but to me, it isn’t.
One recipe that comes to mind every time I think of my Grandma baking at Christmastime are these cookies. They’re nothing special and they’re probably one of the easiest cookie recipes I’ve ever done. They’re a bit messy but kids would probably have a wonderful time ‘helping.’ I hope you let them and that one day, their memories of Christmas and baking are as wrapped up in you as mine are with my family.
1/4 cup – butter or margarine
2 cups – white/granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp – vanilla
4 x 1oz (4 x 28g) – UNsweetened chocolate squares, melted
(Tip: when melting chocolate, if you can, use a double boiler pan/pot. You can use a regular saucepan too, but either way, ALWAYS melt over low heat and stir occasionally. Otherwise, you risk burning the chocolate and wasting the lot.)
2-1/2 cups – all-purpose flour
2 tsp – baking powder
1/2 tsp – salt
Approx. 1 cup – Icing/confectioner’s sugar
(The icing sugar is for garnishing the cookies. Put some into a wide bowl or on a plate and set aside until dough is mixed.)
Cream butter and white sugar together.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Add vanilla and chocolate. Mix well.
Mix flour, powder and salt together. Add to chocolate mixture and mix well.
Shape dough into 1″ balls. (If you make the balls a little larger, that’s fine, you’ll just have to bake for a couple extra minutes. If you keep them to around 1″ though, you should end up with around 6 dozen cookies.) Roll cookie balls in icing sugar until coated.
Place on greased cookie sheets. (I cover the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Saves having to spray or grease the pans and there’s minimal clean-up! :D)
Bake at 350F (175C) for 8-12 minutes. Cookies should be soft when cooled. If you leave them in the oven too long, they harden and become roughly the texture of small rocks.
And here we are, at the end – almost – of another month of baking. I’m all baked out. 😉 Well, maybe not. I might do another cookie recipe that requires cream cheese since my mother thawed out a couple extra packages and we have to find some use for them. Any suggestions?
I hope that you’re all having a wonderful weekend and that no one in your house is too stressed or overworked to enjoy the holidays. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Take care and happy reading/eating.