“I love this. This is my first tree. I’ve always lived with someone. I love that it is simple, yet beautiful. It’s not themed or impersonal. It is me. More importantly I love that it is filled with memories and traditions. Every year since I was born my parents (mom) have gotten me an ornament. And so this is an accumulation over my lifetime. There are homemade ones and ones from other family members. And as much as I seem unconventional in many ways, I love holidays traditions. I think looking back I had a happy childhood, with a big crazy, beautiful family. Every time I walk by my living room I will have to smile. Because it floods me with these feelings. With love and tradition and family and memories and pure bliss.” ~Me, on my Facebook on December 8th
So clearly it is nearly Christmas. This above post pretty much sums up my thoughts on the holidays. Love. Family Tradition.
To me, as a baker, Christmas is about cookies. Growing up, both of my grandma made amazing cookies for Christmas. My grandmother Dreher lived across the holler and I would walk over it to my grandmothers house tucked into the woods. Once nestled inside we would roll and cut cookies. Stars. Trees. Maybe a few Santas. A couple of angels. These were the usual cookie cutters. Once they set we had the task of icing. I think if you took pictures of my cookies from a young age through my 20’s, they were be drastically different. While we were there, we sampled the other cookies. Sandies. Sandies (powdered sugar cookies with pecans) were my FAVORITE). I stayed clear of the gingersnaps (although they’re my momma’s favorite). I also really loved what she did with the extra dough when there wasn’t enough to shape. She would roll it thin. Cover it with cinnamon and sugar. Roll it up. And cut them into little pin wheels. Delicious.
Two years at my grandma Paulin’s we decided to start an annual cookie exchange. We all dressed up in our pajamas. My aunt Toni taking it to another level. Each person brought x amount of cookies. Everyone got to sample all the cookies. My cousin Jacki’s friend Erin then came to judge. She didn’t know who’s cookies where who’s. And I can only imagine the pressure of watching so many Paulin women staring at you while you ate. Waiting for a reaction. Afterwards we divided into teams and played games. It was a night filled with delicious cookies, fun, laughter, and the prospect and excitement of creating a new tradition.
At work I have been baking up a lot of cookies this week. Naturally when I get home I want to bake more. I have a freezer full of almond meal that my dear friend Mary gave me, what is a girl to do? Bake. My first choice was for my gifter Mary, who asked me once upon a time for some soft ginger cookies. And so now I have created them to share with you too!
Soft Gingersnap Cookies
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 local, pasture-raised egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla
Let’s Make it Happen: In a mixer, beat the beat and coconut sugar. Add in the molasses, vanilla, and egg. In a separate bowl combine the almond meal, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Slowly add the flour mix into the blender. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Form into balls. Roll in coconut sugar. Squash a little bit. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Cook longer for crispier cookies. Enjoy!