Everyone loves Christmas Cookies, right? And the habit of holiday baking is a long-time tradition in almost every American family …except mine. Growing up, my mother didn’t do much baking. As an immigrant from Okinawa, Mama learned to cook from my American grandmother. Grandma Bacon taught her how to cook almost every American dish. Roast Beef, Fried Chicken, Spaghetti…that’s American, right? My father was born and raised in Los Angeles but traveled the world, so he loved all exotic foods, and Mama loved to cook, so she was anxious to learn. I just don’t remember Christmas cookies being in our home. But now that I think of it, I’m sure my Aunt Virginia always had cookies. I just don’t recall the memory.
A Holiday Cookie Buffet
Yup, a holiday cookie buffet…sweet! So, where did I get the bug to bring the tradition of baking Christmas Cookies for the holidays? I first experienced the decadence at Rick and Kay Warren’s home. Kay was my first bible study teacher, and she was a wonderfully hospitable hostess. She and Pastor Rick of Saddleback Church held a Christmas Open House yearly. When we first started attending, the church was small, and they hosted the gathering in their home. Kay began baking in October and froze small batches of Christmas Cookies for the big day in December.
I was so amazed when I saw the spread of sugar sprinkles, snicker-doodles, peppermint candy cane swirls, date bars, chocolate kiss peanut butter blossoms, lemon bars, Russian wedding cookies, and gingerbread…I could go on forever. In fact, I hope you’ll tell me your favorites, as I’d love to add them to my menu. I’ve been baking Christmas Cookies every holiday since.
Mistletoe Village Christmas Cookies
I love baking Christmas Cookies so much that I had to put them in my book. In one scene, when little Livy and Josiah first meet Stu and Evelyn, their mobile home park neighbors, Stu offers them store-bought cookies. When Evelyn arrives home, she’ll have none of it.
I’ve never made gingerbread cookies, but I have a great Molasses Gem cookie recipe that’s delicious. And our family has a Gingerbread House Competition using graham crackers. With all that candy on the table up for grabs, it’s a sugar-high fiasco but a highly competitive night. One of my sons bakes his gingerbread walls from scratch. But his sons are not impressed. I think they just miss Grandma’s house.
Still, if you have an easy, delicious recipe for gingerbread cookies that you’ve tried, please pass it along. I’d love to bake some this Christmas. I’ll enlist the help of my eldest daughter. She’s braver and more talented than I and lets her three little ones help. Speaking of which, she has a little side business making those gorgeous designer cookies for weddings and special occasions.
Christmas Cookie Evolution
A Christmas cookie evolution has taken the world by storm and Instagram too. Do you know what I’m talking about? Years ago, the grocery stores started selling oversize designer sugar cookies that made for a beautiful little gift but don’t take a bite. They taste like cardboard. Fast forward to today, and that designer cookie business has exploded.
My daughter (in the US) and daughter-in-law (in Japan) make designer cookies in their kitchen, and I never knew how artistic they were. But my daughter perfected the taste, and her sugar cookie recipe is to die for. My daughter-in-law followed suit, and now they both have more requests than they can fill.
But no cookie evolution for Evelyn in Mistletoe Village, nor me. I’m sticking to my old-fashioned Christmas Cookie menu, but I always request for my daughter to bring her designer cookies. She even wraps each one separately with a matching label.
History of Christmas Cookies
Interestingly, the history of Christmas Cookies dates back to the 1500s and is first associated with gingerbread. But even from there, the stories vary. Some sources say the Dutch began it all as a family Christmas event, baking cookies for their children to decorate. Others claim Germany brought the tradition to the United States. There’s even one story of gingerbread in the crusades!
Spices seem to link to most of the history of Christmas Cookies. The story goes that soldiers brought back exotic spices after wars in foreign lands. Ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and coriander were the popular ones. Combine that with sugar and butter, and you can’t go wrong. Closer to Christmas, you might want to read up on the history of Christmas cookies. It’s a magical holiday rabbit trail I’d love to go on with my grandkids.
Christmas Cookie Giveaway
This has got my tastebuds watering, and I’d love to share some cookies with you. So here’s a little impromptu giveaway. Comment in the section below this post, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for some of my daughter and daughter-in-law’s delicious, coveted designer sugar cookies. I’ll run the contest till the end of the Mistletoe Village Blog Tour, August 1.
I promise you won’t be disappointed, and it’s my way of saying thanks for reading my blog and books. If you haven’t read Mistletoe Village but are in the mood for a little Christmas, pick up a copy. It’s guaranteed to lift your spirits and build your faith.
Don’t forget to enter the $25 Amazon Gift Card and Signed Paperback of Mistletoe Village Giveaway. Here’s the link.
And while you’re at it, read some great reviews about other inspiring Christian Fiction, and enter those giveaways as well. Book Review Blog Tours are informative, fun, and filled with chances to win books and gift cards. My TBR list keeps growing, and I wish I had more time to read these Christian authors who entertain, delight, and inspire my faith.
God Bless your week! Join me back here soon…hopefully, tomorrow.