This Christmas I may not bake anything, though when I look over this post I start to think that if Trader Joe’s has their cranberry relish in stock, I might make the cranberry jellies… maybe just half a batch….
I do love cookies and cookie-baking, and am loving the memories of them in this new era when there are other things I want to do instead. It’s likely I’ll get excited about baking again some Christmastime in the future, but for now, I want to share this post that I hope I haven’t republished too recently. If you like special cookies at Christmas, you might check out the recipes I’ve shared on my Recipes page, because over the last nearly 50 years ! I’ve collected some great ones. Last week my son-in-law mentioned a Lemon Poppyseed Sandwich Cookie that I served only one Christmas, which he said remains his favorite years later.
On the platter below are a few of Trader Joe’s Pfeffernusse which they didn’t carry last year. They were very different from my own peppernuts but awfully nice. I did think of buying a few cookies at Trader Joe’s to eat when the actual feast of Nativity arrives. Pippin had their Lebkuchen at our early Christmas when I was up there, and I’d eaten them last year as well; they remind me of honeykuchen that Mr. Glad’s German grandmother and aunts used to bake at Christmas. While looking for a picture of them to show you I found this site with reviews of Trader Joe’s products.
But now, here is the post from the archives; I hope it might be useful to you in some way:
The new favorite cookie this year was Salted Toffee. This was a happy accident sort of thing. We had come by a bag of mini Heath Bars, not something we normally would buy, and I didn’t want to end up eating them one-by-one, so after we ate a few I thought I would make cookies with the rest.
I’d seen recipes online for Heath Bar cookies, and I used one of them that didn’t have nuts. My version had a little less Heath ingredient, since we had snacked it down. The specialness I added was to combine some large-crystal sugar (Demerara) and coarse sea salt and roll the tops of the cookie-dough balls in that before baking.
Everyone loved these cookies. If that bird were real, he would have eaten the whole cookie by now. But he is painted on a pretty tray that May gave me for Christmas.
Soldier’s Joy brought the darlingest delicious thumbprint cookies that were filled with strawberry and rhubarb, and some chocolate-dipped dried apricots that combined to add to the visual appeal of the cookie platters.
Those bright-white round cookies are our only store-bought item, Pffernusse from Trader Joe’s that Mr. Glad wanted to try in memory of the cookies his German grandmother used to make.
The coconut-y balls are Date Delights, for which I’ll give you the recipe here. They are another chewy toffee-ish experience we have been creating ever since my grandma gave our family a tin full of them one Christmas past.
1 cube butter
1 cup cut-up pitted dates
1 beaten egg
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups Rice Crispies
sweetened coconut flakes, about 7 oz.
In a 9×12 baking pan mix the walnuts and Rice Crispies. Set aside. In another bowl put the coconut flakes.
In a saucepan melt the butter, and add the dates, egg and sugar. Stir all together in the saucepan and boil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and beat in the vanilla, and immediately pour the candy mixture over the walnuts and cereal. Stir well. As soon as the mixture is cool enough to handle, form into balls and roll them in the coconut flakes. Cool.
The red squares in the foreground are Cranberry Jellies. I adapted a recipe from a past Sunset Magazine to make a treat that Pippin and I especially like. It’s refreshingly lacking in any fat except for walnuts, and is a nice chewy way to get your cranberry fix and add color to the display.
3 cups Trader Joe’s Cranberry-Orange Relish (2-16 oz. tubs)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
13 envelopes plain gelatin
3 cups chopped walnuts
Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl (I used a stand mixer) and while the paddle is turning, gradually add the gelatin. When thoroughly mixed transfer to a saucepan and heat just until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the walnuts and pour the mixture into a 9×12 pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into small pieces and dust lightly with cornstarch. I don’t refrigerate them after this point.
Many times I’ve told myself that I must make fewer cookies at Christmas, but this year I realized that it’s one of my favorite things to do. I have so much fun thinking of the collage of different flavors and forms of the little sweets that I don’t even feel the need to eat them. It was long after Christmas Day that I even tried one of the new Peppermint Cream Cheese cookies I made this year.
But now by what is the Seventh Day of Christmas, as I finish up this post, and also New Year’s Eve, I’ve expanded the festive feelings by eating lots of cookies, too! They all taste as good as they look, or better. The last red plateful will go out of here this evening — I wish I could bring one to your house when I say Happy New Year!
11 thoughts on “Our Glad people eat cookies at Christmas.”
Gretchen, your salted toffee sounded wonderful but I couldn’t find a link for that here or on your recipe page.I’m in cookie mode. I’m going to try to give away more cookie plates than usual this year. And now I’m in full-bake gear! Your plates look so pretty!
The fact is, I haven’t been able to duplicate that first version of salted toffee cookies I made, because of the unknown quantity of mini Heath Bars I used that time. I may have to start all over next time and perfect a new version.
My German family will hopefully be visiting after Christmas and you have inspired me to bake some Pfeffernüsse for they sound delicious – as do all of your baked goodies!
Thank you for helping me correct the spelling of the German spice cookie, which I still can’t fully do until I get access to my desktop and can add the umlaut. I must have thought that was Trader Joe’s poor attempt at German spelling I was using, but once I plugged the right form into their review site I see that they had it right!
That son-in-law must have excellent taste!
Haven’t baked anything this year. We won’t be having any family at Christmas. So any baking I do still will be in tiny batches. I do have gingersnaps arriving tomorrow – I ordered several dozen from a friend’s cookie business to share out with neighbours. My friend makes wonderful gingersnaps.
Your photos look festive and so inviting. Wishing you a beautiful weekend, Gretchen!
My husband and I discussed what cookies I should bake this year. After all, we wouldn’t be having company over, so we should choose which ones we liked best. It turns out we like so many that there are 6 varieties in the freezer and I plan on making shortbread in the next few days.
Your cookie plates look delectable, and perfect with a cup of tea to hand.
Have a lovely weekend, Gretchen.
What a delicious post!! The pictures alone make one’s mouth water. I plan on making your Chewy Lemon cookies later today. They sound lovely. Just 3 days to go before the solstice and then a few more days and it will be Christmas. Well, not quite so for you but still, it is coming closer and closer.
No recipe for your Salted Toffee cookies? Maybe you’ll come up with it again sometime. All your cookie plates look wonderful. My little granddaughters and I got to make cookies yesterday! Their parents drove 3 hours each way for a 5 hour visit, all in masks and eating at separate tables. After the first cookie sheet full my daughter-in-law took over for us, giving me a chance to put my feet up and watch the girls play with their gifts. Even though they work from home and school from home, it may be late spring before we risk it again so this was a very special visit.
Thanks I would like to try the date cookies.
What lovely traditions! My Christmas movie last night was Untamed Romania on Netflix. I recommend it to you and to anyone who loves God’s abundant creation – mountains, forests, caves, deltas. Love and prayers, Christie