Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Attempt

This blog is an attempt to capture my first year of continuing my Mom's tradition of baking Christmas cookies. This is no small order. First, My mother was a perfectionist when it came to baking and even more so when it came to her Christmas cookies. She started baking cookies for family and friends many years ago. Second, I have never blogged before and am doing this by trial and error so please be patient!! To follow is an article that appeared in the local paper a few years back after her neighbor interviewed her:

A December state of mind

With one week left until Christmas, Katy Duffus' kitchen is a mini-bakery. The retired nurse is in the thick of her holiday baking extravaganza - no less than 10 kinds of cookies for family, friends and neighbors.

Fortified with a third cup of hazelnut coffee, Duffus on Dec. 16 started the morning making Swedish ginger cookies, using a star for cutouts.

Counter space had been scoured, 10 cookies sheets sat in a pile and dough made earlier in the month and frozen was molded into wafer-thin stars with a light sprinkling of sugar.

She began baking cookies as gifts years ago to cut back on spending, when her extended family decided not to exchange individual gifts.

"I didn't like the idea of that. I like to do something," she said.

Each year she bakes different recipes. One mainstay is a sugar cookie handed down by her mother, the late Charlotte Karrer Powers.

Besides the sugar and ginger cookies, this season's production is fudge puddles, shortbread, maple logs, almond bars, pecan sandies, cappuccino flats, pressed spritz cookies, a brownie cup and lemon poppy seed and Neapolitan cookies.

"I always make way too many, but my son is always happy to take them to work and my daughter too," she said.

She makes the cookies small so that a wide variety can fit attractively on a tray. For cookies in the shape of a wreath, Duffus uses a straw to poke a hole that will later have a red bow tied on.

Duffus melts chocolate, dipping one end of some cookies. Others are frosted with icing or colored sugar.

"My feeling is they can look lovely, but if they don't taste good they aren't worth it," she said.

You now see my challenge.....

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