Monday, December 22, 2008

Those Christmas cookies bring the Yuletide cheer

That's a line from one of the songs my
Chorale performed at our Christmas Concert this year.

Today was cookie day at the Mom's apartment-on-the-bay. We decided on 4 types this year, and we got to choose our favorites. Actually, I chose 2 of them, brother chose 1, and BS got his favorite. Luckily, 3 of the 4 are also my mother's favorites as well.

Cookie #1: my mostest favorite of all - Russian Teacakes. I know the link took you to the Betty Crocker website, but this is the recipe my mother has been making for about 50 years. They are the best I have ever had, and trust me, I have sampled a lot. I think one of the keys is the way we grind the nuts (ooh, sounds painful). We have always used a Mouli grinder, and it grinds the nuts fine, but not too fine. And this is the same orange one she has. I have one too. A food processor would be easier, but the texture would suffer. Trust me on this.

Anyway, we don't call them Russian Teacakes. Since she has been making them since my sisters & I were little girls, we have always just called them Round Balls. Because I love balls, and I love them round. Heh, I'm 12.

To my mind, making Round Balls is akin to picking crabs (see previous post) - a complete pain in the ass, but oh so worth it. Buttery, tender, heavenly. It was the first dough made because it has to chill before you can roll them out.

A drift of snowy sugar to roll your balls in

Cookie #2 - Raspberry Bars. This is a newer addition to the family line-up, since we have only been making these for 10 years or so, but it quickly became a favorite. I mean really, can anything bad come from Land o' Lakes butter?

I patted the dough out all by myself. Of course I licked my fingers first, since I had just finished the Round Ball dough.

Ready for the oven

Golden brown and delicious

Cookie #3 - Toffee Squares. This is another one from my wee childhood, so it has become, with my beloved Balls, indelibly connected with Christmas for me. They came from one of the Bibles of cookery from the 50's as well, I just can't remember which one, but this is pretty close. Of course, we had to modify them just a bit by putting way more chocolate on them than the recipe calls for.

Did I tell you that the family motto, when it comes to baking Christmas cookies, is "More is better".

My mother spreading the ooey gooey chocolately goodness

Mum spreading more Mouli'd nuts.

Cookie #4: BS's favorite. Peanut Butter Blossoms are part of my history as well, but have never been my favorites.
The kids love 'em though on account of the Kisses on top.
There are about a jillion recipes for these, so I don't know from whence ours came, but I can tell you that, after looking at some of them, no cookie containing Crisco will ever pass our lips.
It's all about the butter baby!!!

Rolling these out is pretty much a pain in the ass too.

Oh, and I want you to see where we performed these culinary wonders...

I know people who have closets bigger than my mother's kitchen, but we make do.

It was also a beautiful day whilst we slaved over a hot oven.
Icy blue skies and icy cold temps.

The Lynnhaven fishing pier

The first channel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel,
one of the
7 Engineering Wonders of the modern world.

In this aerial view of the bridge-tunnel, stolen from Wiki, you can see my mothers large brown brick building at the top, just right of center.

And now......... drum roll please.........the money shots........

The bay in the background

The Christmas tree in the background. Ain't the yummies purty?

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Looks divine. And such pretty views while you bake.