The Battle for Christmas Cookies

Nov
28

Post by community member:

Every year, there’s a battle for Christmas cookies. It’s not the kind of battle you’re imagining where there’s a plate of cookies and everyone’s scrambling for the last one. No, it’s a battle of wills to get a certain kind of cookie made.

BrownieDrop

Every Christmas I spent living under my parents’ roof, Mom would turn the kitchen into a bakery. Considering my love of sweets, this time of year was sheer heaven. Spritz cookies were turned out with an old crank cookie press. Christmas tree cookies were decorated with sugar crystals and topped with little silver balls. Wreaths may have been sprinkled with glittery crystals, silver balls, or they may have sported a maraschino cherry. Fudge, divinity candy, cakes, and pies rolled out of the kitchen in assembly-line fashion. But the favorite of all was the Brownie Drop cookies. My brother, dad and I swooned over them. This was a once-a-year tradition, one we looked forward to as much as Santa himself.

As it goes, when a family member dies, so do many traditions. The chocolate Christmas cookie tradition ended the year of my dad’s death. As for my mother, she made those cookies for my dad. We just happened to have a generous father who didn’t mind sharing those baked drops of mouth-watering wonderful.

Every year since his death (25 years ago), I’ve yearned for a taste of the past, memories blended into the ingredients. For Mom, mixing the memories and ingredients proved too painful.

But it didn’t stop me. I begged for those cookies year after year and I received the same yearly response: “We’ll see.” One year, she handed me the recipe and old me to start my own traditions. I tried to make them–once. It wasn’t the same. I continued to beg and badger her to no avail. I can count on my right hand the times she’s given in and made them since Dad’s death. This year, I would try another tactic.

After deciding to host Thanksgiving, my mother asked what I’d like for her to bring.

“Cookies.”

“Cookies?”

“Yeah, you know, my favorite cookies.”

I don’t know that she took me seriously. She asked me several times throughout the week what she should bring. Each time I responded with the same answer, “Cookies.” I wasn’t holding my breath. I’ve grown accustomed to losing this battle.

She arrived Thanksgiving afternoon. I met her at the sidewalk to help carry her things. In her tote was a bowl of 5-cup salad. I said nothing of the missing cookies. As she entered the doorway she smiled, reached into her bag and handed me three Ziploc bags, each filled with those old familiar chocolate cookies.

BrownieDropCrumbs

There are some battles worth every bite.

Just in case you’d like to start a new family tradition modeled after our old one,

How to make Brownie Drops: Printable

2 bars German Sweet Chocolate
1 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Melt chocolate and butter. Cool. Beat eggs till foamy, then add sugar, 2 T. at a time. Beat till thickened. Blend in chocolate and the rest of ingredients. Drop onto greased sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8 – 10 minutes.

They don’t sound that difficult to make, but trust me…. it’s tricky to get them to come out just right. If you twist my arm, I’d be willing to taste test them for you! *snicker*

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Comments

  1. CindyP says:

    Wonderful post 🙂

    Persistence is the key! But how sweet for her to bring you the recipe for you to make your own tradition…along with a taste.

    Have you made your first batch yet? LOL!

  2. lisabetholson says:

    I love, love, love german chocolate, I have to make these?
    I think you have given me an idea. With 3 adult men in the house and we don’t buy gifts because we are old enough to get what we need through the year, I think I will have to bake and save half of the bakings for a Christmas surprise. If I don’t make and save half I won’t have any. They eat everything I make faster than teenagers.

    I couldn’t believe last night I was making turkey soup from the leftovers and DH walked into the kitchen and said every time he comes into the kitchen it smells like I am baking???? Something is wrong with the soup????? He wanted donuts and his friend just brought a FEW dozen on Saturday afternoon, this is only Monday. See what I mean? Nothing is safe, how did your mother keep cookies????

  3. AnnieB says:

    You’ve brought tears to my eyes. What a lovely, bittersweet post. God bless your Mom for baking them for you!!!

  4. Joy says:

    You’re right, it doesn’t sound too hard. I think the secret ingredient was the love she put into the cookies. Maybe you can get her to supervise you making the cookies to learn some of her techniques. Or maybe not.

    I could NEVER get my beef stew to turn out like my mother-in-law’s. Was it her cast iron pot? Exactly how much flour and water did she use for thickener? –just enough, she replied. I’m convinced the delicious, almost solid stew she turned out with perfect potatoes and carrots, just done but not mushy was a little bit of magic. I don’t even eat beef anymore and I still wish I’d been able to duplicate her stew.

  5. leavesofthefall says:

    I did try to make these Brownie Drop cookies — once. lol They didn’t turn out like Mom’s. I’ve shared the recipe with my cousin and an aunt. They’ve come close, but neither of theirs measured up to Mom’s, either. lol Don’t get me wrong, I was super-grateful for them trying! Mom’s are just the best. 🙂

    I’m not sure how she saved those cookies… she was also teaching school, so the Christmas goodies were whipped out while on Christmas break. I’m tellin’ ya, though, those Brownie Drop cookies are the bomb! And, since we didn’t get them but once a year made them even that much more special.

    We have the same issue at family gatherings when it comes to my great-grandmother’s banana pudding. She is the only one who could make it “her” way. The secret may have been on that old woodburning cook stove. 🙂 She made the actual pudding from scratch — nothing boxed. She passed away in the mid-70s, and every year at family get-togethers, someone would bring the traditional bowl of banana pudding. Most were good, but none quite measured up to Grandma’s. It’s kinda funny how we have food that represents memories of the individual who made it. So is it a psychological thing? Maybe you have it right, maybe it is a bit of magic.

  6. Alison says:

    So how many ounces is each bar of Chocolate? I look forward to trying the recipe.

  7. leavesofthefall says:

    Alison,
    I’m not sure how many ounces there are in the bars…. last time I purchased the chocolate, it came in a “slab” about 4×6″ and you use the entire thing x2. Hope this helps. I’ll ask Mom next time I talk with her.

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