‘Tis 17 days before Christmas and all through the house . . . .

I don’t know about your house, but at my house things are getting a bit crazy.  My sister has started a candy business and, I am glad to say, it is doing well.  She spends a lot of time in the kitchen.  It is also time to start our family treat making so a few more of us are in the kitchen.  My mother, daughter, niece and I are all trying to make cookies, candies, chocolates, etc.  Don’t forget regular meal preparation.  Needless to say, our kitchen is in need of traffic control, another sink and more counter space.

This is nothing new in our household.  It has been like this every holiday for as long as I can remember.  We have learned to work around each other.  Questions like “Shall we dance?” or “Could you hand me _____?” or “Are you using that open space?” are often heard.  Christmas music and movies often play in the background.  We all act as “official” tasters when necessary and are more than willing to sacrifice and eat the mistakes.  The memories of Christmases past are revived by the aromas.  Words like, “Do you remember . . . .?” are often followed by rolling eyes, laughter and the occasional groan.

While this sounds like the “perfect Christmas activity” it is not.  Sometimes the Grinch visits our kitchen.  There is frustration and words about ingredients missing.  Sometimes we have to schedule the kitchen because we don’t all fit.  Early mornings and late nights can make a person cranky.  But as we share old memories and make new ones with the younger generation some miraculous things happens.  The generation gap disappears and good conversations are had.  Family traditions and baking skills are passed on to a new generation.  It is the memories, however, that are added to individual treasuries that tie our family together.  In honor of those memories I would like to share with you one of our favorite cookie recipes.  Let me know if you like them!

1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 tbl anise extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 2/3 cup flour
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Mix shortening, sugar, egg, molasses, and anise.
Add soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves
Mix well
Add flour slowly mixing well after each cup (dough should be stiff but moldable, NOT dry)
Roll into 1″ balls and place on greased cookie sheet
Bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom (there will be cracks on the top).
Let cool about 10 minutes then put them in a bowl with a lid
Add powdered sugar and shake gently – remove lid
Let cool fully (the cookies will sweat if stored while still warm)
Store in air tight container