In our family, Christmas baking is a very important tradition. My mother is the master Christmas baker, making dozens of different kinds of cookies and squares, and of course, fruit cake. A magically self-refilling platter of cookies makes up many of my memories of childhood Christmases. And this platter didn’t just exist at our house. All of my aunts did the same, so everywhere we went, from Christmas Eve to Epiphany, the platter of cookies always appeared.
In the last few years, Mom has cut back on how many different things she makes. She’s now down to only about 15 different types of desserts.
Not only does Mom bake a ton, she shares. For about 15 or 20 years now, she makes up boxes filled with Christmas baking that she brings to all her children. My sisters have usually received the largest boxes, as they are the ones that do the entertaining.
Alas, this year, my parents aren’t coming to visit for Christmas, so the box full of baking won’t appear. But that’s okay, as my mother taught her daughters to bake. I started helping with the Christmas baking when I was very little, so I think I can handle it.
I started baking last week. I won’t be making nearly as many things as my mother does, but we will have a nice variety. Plus, I called my sister and offered to share the baking duties, sort of like a Christmas cookie exchange. We are each making different recipes and will give the other person half of what we make. And she volunteered to make the peanut butter balls and the shortbread, which are the two items that take the longest, so I think I will do well in this exchange.
Do you bake for Christmas? What are your favorites? I’ll share some of our family favorites with you in future posts.