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 Learning Together: The Christmas Cookie
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Red Tractor Girl
True Blue Farmgirl

2079 Posts

Winnie
Gainesville Fl
USA
2079 Posts

Posted - Dec 02 2019 :  11:03:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There are many topics about our Christmas holiday traditions and I debated on several before choosing this one. The Christmas Cookie. I would bet that most of us grew up with family favorites during the holiday season, followed by making cookies as adults, and possibly joining in cookie exchanges with friends. The number of cookie recipes are many!

I didn't know the history about how Christmas cookies got started, so I looked up references on the internet and found some interesting tidbits that maybe you were not aware of either.

History dates the tradition of Christmas biscuits back to the Middle Ages when Crusaders, who were going to far away places like the Middle East and Turkey, brought back spices and dried fruits that were not available in Europe. These delicacies included cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and black pepper along with dried fruits like apricots, raisins, citron and dried fruit peels. Sound familiar??? Think about mincemeat pies, gingerbread cookies, Lebkuchen, fruit cakes, and the famous Plum pudding from A Christmas Carol. These ingredients were luxury items and families who could afford them saved their use until Christmas time.

Here in the United States, we have a different history. The Pilgrims, who settled in 1621, were Puritans and Christmas was considered a Pagan holiday and therefore forbidden to be celebrated. It wasn't until other immigrants from Europe, who were not Pilgrims, and were of other religious backgrounds, brought their European Christmas traditions here. In the 17th Century, early Dutch settlers in other parts of New England left records of making traditional Christmas cookies.

Mainstream cookie making here in the US, did not really take off until trade deals between Germany and the US, from 1871-1906, made imports cheap. Cookie cutters were among the many products to arrive here and become quite affordable and therefore widespread. Woolworths was among one of the early stores that made many Christmas items from Germany very affordable. I know my Grandma and Mom purchased many of the cookie cutters I have
today from their our local Woolworths along with nativity figurines and other little decorations.

Along with cheap cookie cutter figurines, an abundance of recipes were printed in books and circulated. Here we are today over 150 years later, still making cookies and creating ever more and more new recipes.

Some of my favorites cookies include Gingerbread and Springerle. My Grandmother was a German immigrant and she always made both of these traditional favorites. Today, I still have my Mom's gingerbread cutter and her Springerle rolling pin.

Springerle cookies are rolled out with a rolling pin that has all sorts of designs in little rectangles. You roll out the dough with the rolling pin and then cut the squares out, bake them and then let them sit in a cookie tin for a few weeks to harden. They are flavored with Anise seed and lemon peel and turn into these wonderful hard cookies that are perfect to dip in a mug of hot tea or coffee. I love them!!

So, let's share this month your Christmas cookie memories and any favorite cookies you have. We can exchange recipes if we like or just enjoy sharing our Farmgirl memories of this long standing holiday tradition!



Here is my Mom's old half apron, her rolling pin, a few of the cookie cutters, and the bottom rolling pin is the Springerle one.


Winnie Nielsen #3109
Red Tractor Girl
Farm Girl of the Year 2014-2015

Edited by - Red Tractor Girl on Dec 03 2019 04:35:27 AM

sweettea59
True Blue Farmgirl

1033 Posts

Sherry
Longview Texas
USA
1033 Posts

Posted - Dec 03 2019 :  11:35:12 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh Winnie, thank you for the history of the Christmas cookie, I make a lot of different kinds for this season but right now everyone wants Decorated Christmas sugar cookies. It all started several years ago when my daughter's boss ask me to make some for the foster kids at the annual company Christmas party and I have been making them for them every year. Some years more than others. But I like doing it for the kids.
My Granny always made many different kinds. My grandmother made a fig cookie that she used her fig preserves in. They were so good. Thanks for being back some memories.

Farmgirl Hugs & May all your Wishes come true.
Sherry
Farmgirl #2215
www.etsy.com/shop/markiebuck
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StitchinWitch
True Blue Farmgirl

213 Posts

Judith
Galt CA
USA
213 Posts

Posted - Dec 03 2019 :  11:44:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My grandmother was from Hungary and my grandfather was Bavarian so my mother was raised with the Germanic Christmas traditions, which meant Christmas was a major thing in our family. Lots of cookies; my favorites were springerle and pfefferneuse, but there was also spritz made with the cookie press, gingerbread, lebkuchen, sugar cookies, and Mexican wedding cakes. Not sure how those got in the mix but we loved them. Our springerle recipe must have been different from Winnie's as ours were rock hard when baked but put in a tin for a couple of weeks with an apple to soften. I use to bake about 15 different cookie recipes for Christmas. Sad to say, I don't do that anymore. I'm diabetic and two of my kids are keto fanatics. I still have my springerle presses and cookie cutters and might do two or three batches of cookies for the grandkids.

Judith

7932
Happiness is Homemade
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TexasGran
True Blue Farmgirl

4342 Posts

Marilyn
Stephenville Texas
USA
4342 Posts

Posted - Dec 03 2019 :  8:41:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That sounds so yummy Judith. I'm a cookie monster, trying to change...I think new years might be a great day for a new whole 30 experience.

Texasgran

Edited by - TexasGran on Dec 03 2019 8:44:20 PM
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levisgrammy
Scattered Prairie Gals Hen Honcho

4869 Posts

Denise

USA
4869 Posts

Posted - Dec 04 2019 :  03:47:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My mom used to make lots of cookies at Christmas time. We always took a big plate of them wherever we went to visit. Usually family. Of course we always brought something home that the aunt's made too. I guess it was sort of like a cookie exchange. But my dad's sister who is the 99 yr old, used to make a type of fruitcake. Her own recipe I think. It was an applesauce cake loaded with fruits. It was baked in a loaf but was nothing like the typical fruitcake. I have to remember to ask her for it in my next letter.

The picture you have of the little girl baking is a print I have on a metal tray.
That little girl always reminded me of my mother as a child.

Denise~~
Sister #43~1/18/2007
FGOTM~7/2013


"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path"
Psalm 119:105

www.ladybugsandlilacs.blogspot.com
www.torisgram.etsy.com
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treelady
True Blue Farmgirl

854 Posts

Julie
medina ND
USA
854 Posts

Posted - Dec 10 2019 :  06:42:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh how I love making, eating and gifting Christmas Cookies. Growing up my grandma would make Krum Kaka and Rosettes for my Norwegian grandfather. I still have her rosette molds and use them every year. Filled date cookies were another family favorite that always found its way to the cookie tray. My maternal grandmother was known for her gingersnaps. Both the date cookie recipe and the gingersnaps recipe I have been given many, many years ago by the grandmothers and to preserve their handwritten treasures I made copies and laminated them. I tend to make several varieties each year for platters for the neighbors.

A little rain can straighten a flower stem. A little love can change a life.

Max Lucado
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Red Tractor Girl
True Blue Farmgirl

2079 Posts

Winnie
Gainesville Fl
USA
2079 Posts

Posted - Dec 10 2019 :  4:35:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Julie, Warren is Norwegian and I have his grandmother's Sandbakkel molds and recipe for cookies. They are the #1 requested by everyone in my family along with Yulekake for breakfast. I have been reminded already by my girls that they want plenty of both for Christmas!! We also celebrate St. Lucia Day and I make the traditional Saffron buns for breakfast. We also have his Grandmother's Krum kaka maker, but they are harder to make unless you have a dedicated assistant. They sure are delicious when they do get made. Gingersnaps are one of my most favorite cookies too. I love how spicy they are and are good with apples too.

I now have the ingredients for my Mom's german Springerle cookies. Using her Springerle rolling pin, I plan to make them tomorrow so that they can cure in a tin until Christmas.

Judith, I am interested to learn that Springerle cookies were also a favorite in Hungary as well.

Thank-you all for sharing your thoughts and memories of Christmas cookie favorites. They are all so delicious and made with love!

Winnie Nielsen #3109
Red Tractor Girl
Farm Girl of the Year 2014-2015
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TexasGran
True Blue Farmgirl

4342 Posts

Marilyn
Stephenville Texas
USA
4342 Posts

Posted - Dec 10 2019 :  8:41:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Julie's dad was Norweigan, her mother was German.
Each year she makes lefsa. She folds about six pieces, and prepares them for mailing to her brother, six for her oldest sister and another six or so for her sister who is 18 months older than she. The sister who lives here usually comes to help.She and Julie keep some for their families. Then Julie makes Rosettes, I had bought an iron about three years before she became my daughter in law so I gave it to her. She has her paternal grandmothers lefsa grill, which was given to her by her dad's sister when Baylee was a little tyke.
Next she wanted a griddle to make those lacey looking cookies that you wrap around a cone...so I got that for her Christmas one year. After thinking about it...i ordered one for me too. Now each of the girls can have one. These are my favorites.
She has her grandma's little molds that you press the dough into...I tried to help with that chore one year! That was awful. So I gave her my little molds...why on earth did i have them???

Texasgran
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quiltee
True Blue Farmgirl

2756 Posts

Linda
Lone Oak TX
USA
2756 Posts

Posted - Dec 10 2019 :  8:57:45 PM  Show Profile  Send quiltee a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
I have my mothers old springerle rolling pin, too. Every year we would make certain cookies: the almond crescent, bourbon balls, frosted sugar cookies, and several other favorites. When I lived away from home, there were several years that I baked with a girlfriend. we baked 100 dozen cookies and split them. wed pick some of her favorites and some of mine, and then wed each take home half of the cookies we baked to either give away or use for the holidays. I miss that. Now that were moving though, there will be a couple people Nearby, that might like to do something like that. We will see.

Linda O
quiltee
Farmgirl #1919
FGOTM for August, 2015 and April, 2017
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TexasGran
True Blue Farmgirl

4342 Posts

Marilyn
Stephenville Texas
USA
4342 Posts

Posted - Dec 10 2019 :  10:27:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Linda, when I was the art teacher, my friend the school nurse and I got together and made teacher treats. They were put in the faculty lounge. We did this in an effort to boost morale...there was a lot of grumbling going on. ( I don't even remember why.) It seems to me that when you do something like that you reap perhaps more benefits than others. We became better friends, and on Saturday mornings early we would slip into the building while the teachers were at home to set up the next surprise! I think you are going to enjoy having neighbors again.

Texasgran
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levisgrammy
Scattered Prairie Gals Hen Honcho

4869 Posts

Denise

USA
4869 Posts

Posted - Dec 12 2019 :  03:43:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I need to get going and get some baking done for gifting. I had been feeling well the last couple of days but today is better. So it's time to get to work in the kitchen!

Denise~~
Sister #43~1/18/2007
FGOTM~7/2013


"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path"
Psalm 119:105

www.ladybugsandlilacs.blogspot.com
www.torisgram.etsy.com
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debbieklann
True Blue Farmgirl

1057 Posts

Debbie
Madras OR
USA
1057 Posts

Posted - Dec 17 2019 :  09:17:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My great grandma was from Hungary and she brought some wonderful recipes with her. My grandma would bake Buttercakes, Sour Cream Twists and Rosettes every Christmas. She had a wonderful roll out sugar cookie recipe that I always use. She would just sprinkle with colored sugar but I love to add buttercream frosting and sprinkles to mine.
My DIL is going to school this winter and I know that she isn't going to have time to bake much so I asked her what everyone in her house would like and I will bake it for them. So I have a request for sour cream twists and spritz. The weather is supposed to turn bad starting tomorrow and I love to bake when it's gloomy outside!

Debbie Klann
Farmgirl Sister #770
2018 Farmgirl Sister of the Year
"Well behaved women seldom make history"...
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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TexasGran
True Blue Farmgirl

4342 Posts

Marilyn
Stephenville Texas
USA
4342 Posts

Posted - Dec 17 2019 :  09:55:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That sounds great, Debbie. Are you having a blizzard tomorrow?
My favorite Christmas cookie is my hubby's grandmother's recipe for Tea Cakes. I almost always make a double recipe because I share with my son's family. They have the recipe...but they are not as yum as mine. I love to roll them thin, then bake them an extra couple of minutes so they are crispy and brown. Perfect for dunkin's in my morning coffee. The kids like them with buttercream laced with almond flavoring, and so do I.

Texasgran
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debbieklann
True Blue Farmgirl

1057 Posts

Debbie
Madras OR
USA
1057 Posts

Posted - Dec 17 2019 :  10:24:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Marilyn, it is starting out as rain and freezing rain and LOTS of snow in the mountains. Depending on how cold it gets, I'm hoping it will snow! I would rather have snow over ICE any day!
I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who eats Christmas cookies for breakfast! I figure it's better to eat it first thing and burn it off during the day...and besides, it's Christmas!

Debbie Klann
Farmgirl Sister #770
2018 Farmgirl Sister of the Year
"Well behaved women seldom make history"...
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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TexasGran
True Blue Farmgirl

4342 Posts

Marilyn
Stephenville Texas
USA
4342 Posts

Posted - Dec 17 2019 :  6:40:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Debbie, I hope the ice does not build up on your power lines and trees the way it does in Texas. Almost three years ago was the worst I have ever witnessed. We lost power for a long time ...seems like that when everyone is complaining. It was three days and nights.
My son told me that he has friends who work for the REA...electric co-op. They told him how ugly people were. They did not cause the problem and were trying to fix it...it just goes to show that city people do not have any I understanding of country life.

Texasgran
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debbieklann
True Blue Farmgirl

1057 Posts

Debbie
Madras OR
USA
1057 Posts

Posted - Dec 19 2019 :  08:32:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Marilyn, I agree! My son in law's dad has worked for one of our power companies for a long time. Travis said he was always getting called out during bad weather and holidays to get power up and running. I wish people would be more grateful for these guys who are out there in all kinds of weather, away from their families, trying to get the power back on.
It looks like the ice is not going to materialize and I am thankful! The mountains are getting lots of moisture....an answer to a lot of prayers!

Debbie Klann
Farmgirl Sister #770
2018 Farmgirl Sister of the Year
"Well behaved women seldom make history"...
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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levisgrammy
Scattered Prairie Gals Hen Honcho

4869 Posts

Denise

USA
4869 Posts

Posted - Dec 20 2019 :  06:57:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Has everyone finished their Christmas baking? Sadly, I have not due to preparing for company and trying to get overdue projects done. But we always end up with so many goodies that I don't think it will make too much difference.

Denise~~
Sister #43~1/18/2007
FGOTM~7/2013


"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path"
Psalm 119:105

www.ladybugsandlilacs.blogspot.com
www.torisgram.etsy.com

Edited by - levisgrammy on Dec 20 2019 06:58:27 AM
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darlenelovesart
True Blue Farmgirl

4099 Posts

darlene
Loleta California
USA
4099 Posts

Posted - Dec 20 2019 :  07:06:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What a cute apron Winnie.

Have a good day all.
Love
Darlene

Farmgirl # 4943

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for what he has done.
Philippians 4:6

Just follow God unquestioningly.
Because you love Him so, for if you trust His judgment there is nothing you need to know.
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