At Christmastime, in my old country home, a much anticipated day…
was the day on which we made cookies in a traditional, old-fashioned way.
An old family recipe for Christmas hard cookies was always the trusted guide,
while carols played on the record player, and, often, snow was falling outside.
Those cookies, to this day, are favorites, though some joke about them being too hard…enough to use them for traction under car tires, if there’s ice out in the yard!
But that joke was really a myth which, by tasting, could easily be debunked. But, if preferred, there was always fresh coffee into which the cookies could be dunked!
Rolling them out to just the right thinness, yet making sure they wouldn’t be wrinkled…was an important job, as well as the jobs of cutting them out and seeing that they were sprinkled.
Red and green sugars or candied, tiny beads were applied to angels, bells, and stars. Once cooled off from having been baked in the oven, they were packed away in tins or glass jars.
Mother, grandmother, and children were busy with the project for quite long. Some of the “workers” left for the piano to play their favorite Christmas song.
All of this was done in anticipation of Christmas Eve and the following Day, when we would be celebrating the birth of Christ, who Mary had placed in a manger on some hay.
Yes, those cookie bells spoke of ringing out the message of the Savior’s birth. The star cookies reminded of the famous star that led the wise men to the King of heaven and earth.
The angel cookies depicted the angelic hosts which rejoiced on that holy night…when shepherds were amazed to hear of the good news, despite their initial fright.
On cookie-baking day, it didn’t need to be dark to turn on the lights of the tree. It was a grand time to celebrate the Light of the World, who came and still shines today and for all eternity.
P. A. Oltrogge
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
John 1:5 NLT
Anise Christmas Cookie Recipe, for those interested…makes a large batch, at least eight to ten dozen, or more. The recipe can be cut in half, or the easiest is for it to be made as one fourth.
1/2 lb. brown sugar = 1 Cup
1 lb. white sugar = 2 Cups
3/4 lb. shortening = 1 1/2 Cups
1 pint Karo dark syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cardamom
16 tablespoons ground anise seed
1 tsp. soda dissolved in hot water
About 2 1/2 lbs. flour = 8-10 cups
Mix all ingredients until it gets very stiff
Roll out very thin and decorate
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes