Sweet Memories (aka IT'S COOKIE TIME)

December 17, 2014 | Posted by Stephanie Banyas

When I was growing up, Christmastime was cookie time. At about six years old, I became my mother’s baking sous chef -- and my love of baking has only grown since then. While I was way too young to actually bake the cookies, I got to help with most of the prep: chopping the nuts for Italian Horns and Thumbprints in one of those old fashioned nut choppers, removing the Hershey’s Kisses wrappers for Peanut Butter Blossoms, and mixing the colored icings for the rolled sugar cookies.

Thumbprint Cookies with Whipped Icing

I took my responsibilities very seriously, and I loved every moment of this yearly ritual. As I got older, my responsibilities grew; by my teenage years I was in charge of the whole show. My repertoire of recipes has grown since then, but there is still one cookie that makes an appearance each year. The sight and smell of the round, nut-covered cookie with frosting-filled indentation in the center takes me back to my childhood kitchen, working side-by-side with my mom, all those years ago.

Chocolate-Espresso Crackles

And, because no cookie spread is complete without a chocolate and peanut butter offering, two new cookies are making an appearance on my Christmas cookie platter this year. One is a variation of Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Crackles -- a dark, intensely flavored chocolate cookie covered in pure white confectioners’ sugar (my twist: adding espresso).

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies

The other is my favorite cookie from Bar Americain’s cookie plate, made famous by their talented pastry chef Josephine Pascquing: Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Sandwich cookie (FYI -- this one in gluten-free!).

Hopefully my selections will become a part of your cookie plate, and your holiday memories...