Every year, my grandmother makes dozens and dozens of cookies for the holidays. Last year, she made roughly 144 dozen cookies. They’re not all for the family — don’t worry, we aren’t swimming in cookies from one Christmas Day to the other. She gives them away to friends, the places of work for her children and grandchildren, her old clients, etc. Everyone really loves them and look forward to receiving their package each year.
Her process is a long one that begins long before the week leading up to Christmas. Most of the ingredients are purchased by the end of September. The month of October begins with making doughs that can be frozen before the cookies are made. Around mid-October she takes a week off from the Christmas baking to make Halloween sugar cookies. These don’t number anywhere near the amount she makes for Christmas.
Once the Halloween cookies are made the real work begins. Each day, about 5 or six days a week, she bakes one or two different kinds of cookies. Once baked and embellished they get boxed by type and sit in a freezer until mid-December when she start to assemble the packages. Eventually, they are shipped off to the happy recipients.
Usually, she is able to and enjoys baking alone. However, this is one cookie that for the last few years, I’ve helped her bake. Her “filled cookies” are very labor intensive and require many steps. I have to help with the rolling and the filling. Once they are on the trays, the baking process is no different from any other type of cookie. Last week, I had a day off from work. So, Grandma and I planned to carve out a couple hours to tackle the “filled cookies.”
This year was a bit easier since the dough was already made so we just had to roll it out, cut into squares, fill with the jelly or nut mixture, roll up the dough into a small log, and bake them off. Since we’ve doing this for a few years, we have the system down to a science and I was only there a little over an hour.
I do have pictures below, but I forgot to take one of the cookies once they were baked. I’ve been helping my grandmother in the kitchen on and off for many years. When I was a child, we actually lived right across the street from her for a time. After school and weekends, I would go over there and help her with whatever she was doing in the kitchen. Whether it be baking something, making candy for the holidays, make lunch or dinner, etc. I guess I can credit my interest and love of baking to her.