CULINARY ARTS: 3 Christmas cookies you can easily bake

gingerbread cookies brian

Decorated gingermen appear on the dessert buffet.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM.

CRESTVIEW — Christmas cookie baking at the Hughes residence was a family affair.

Mom marshaled her kitchen assistants — my brother and me. “Assistance” included eating any slightly singed or misshapen cookies. Dad stayed out of the way, a task he handled skillfully and willingly in front of the living room TV.

I’d get the early shift, as I had inherited Poppa Hughes’ Anglo blood and generally shut down around 11:30 p.m. My brother Evan got Poppa Major’s Austro-Hungarian blood and took the late shift, which often stretched into the wee hours.

With a stack of Christmas albums on the record player, it was great mother-sons bonding time.

I inherited Mom’s 1949 “Christmas Cookie Book” by Virginia Pasley. Mom’s list of our family’s favorite cookies and her handwritten notations are conveniently tucked inside the front cover so I can prepare them almost as she did.

Though 17 Christmases have passed since she left us, Mom still helps at Christmas cookie time. Those bonds formed decades ago in a warm, tiny kitchen on a snow-clad New Jersey mountaintop are as strong as ever.

I’ve since added some of my own favorites. Family traditions evolve, you know. Foremost is my gingerbread, which friends like because these are rich, spicy and soft cookies, not the hard, crunchy kind.

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