I suppose it’s probably the same in your household. The Christmas lights are up….the tree has been put securely in place….(ahem)….next would have to be the annual making of the family-favorite Christmas cookies.
So what is that for you? Cut-out cookies with lots of frosting in all kinds of colors? Sugar cookies? Mexican wedding cookies? Snickerdoodles? Candy cane cookies? Molasses cookies? Oh, man, the molasses cookies….
Just about every Christmas during my childhood, my Mom would decide to make a molasses cookie recipe that my Dad absolutely loved–and my brother and I hated (which says a lot when you consider that usually almost any kind of a cookie recipe will leave a kid drooling at the smell and anticipated taste of said baked cookies). I don’t remember everything that went into this recipe, but I have very distinct memories of my parents buying those nasty colored fruit bits that go in fruit cake and lots of molasses. Mom had these really old wooden bowls that she loved to use for things like this and would fill the biggest one with a double-batch of this molasses cookie recipe. She would let it sit for a day or two to let all of the flavors meld and then she’d start baking them up.
The smell of these cookies baking was….well….pungent. I like molasses cookies. But these were–shall we say–intense. Every year I would try to convince myself that I could handle eating them (what kid in his right mind refuses a fresh hot cookie from the oven? Especially when enough time has passed that he forgets just how much he hates that candied fruit?). Those cookies had so much molasses in them that they were almost black, which worked very well for hiding all of the red, green and yellow bits of fruit hiding in each one, just waiting to explode with nauseous viciousness on the unsuspecting taste buds of an innocent child such as myself. I would try my best to find one with the least amount of fruit bits showing, but it was a gamble on what I would find once I bit into it. Then my Mom would frost some of them. I love frosting! So I already was faced with the obvious problem that none of these cookies had enough frosting on them to sustain my taste buds for any length of time. Besides, I knew that the frosting would do something for hiding the taste of those vile, evil bits of colored nastiness. But that only went so far.
I never did develop a taste for those. And year after year I would inevitably try. I’m devoted like that. So my Mom made up for it by baking up some amazing cut-out cookies with an amazing recipe (that my wife still uses every December) and lots of wonderful frosting in plenty of holiday colors.
Merry Christmas to me!