Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Traditions

We do not have very many traditions in our family but we do have one that has to be done every year, no matter what.


As always you have your snowball things (Russian Tea Cakes...don't like em) but my mom's favorite. Then we have the peanut butter what ever you call them. Can't remember but they are pretty good if that is all there is left. Then on the back of the cooling rack (I really hope Amy is making sure that I get a couple cooling racks like this for Christmas) is the all time favorite!

Cut Outs! Ya Hoo!
Or sugar cookies as some people call them. We have a extra special cut out cookie that we make. This cookie has been made in our family since the forty's or maybe even longer. It was whenever they started making these cookie cutters. We had only two of these cutters in our family and they were treasured and protected like they were gold. They stopped making these a while ago but my sister looked and looked and finally found an old set on Ebay. In the last 10 years or so they have started making them again though so if any one wants to try to make these you can get them. Just do a search for "Aunt Chicks" and they should show up.

Here is a picture of the box and an address. Not sure if this address is for the new company though.

Here is the cutter, doesn't look like much. The recipe is different from most other sugar cookie recipes in that it calls for no leavening at all. They would lose their features if you added any. The cookies end up being kinda hard after a few days but they are still delicious.

This is what they look like out of the oven and after they cool. Before they bake I (actually my sister Amy) put currants in for the eyes. It calls for raisins but my mom and grandmother always used currants. They had a box that they used for years. I remember them being kinda dried up and hard but there was still a really good curranty taste when you ate the eye part.

The first step in the decorating was painting the lips and tongue with red food coloring right out of the bottle. I think my mom would pour a little in the cap and use a little paint brush. Now, the food coloring has those pointy lids so can't do that anymore.

You have to be very careful cause it's very easy to make an evil looking Santa or a crazy looking Santa. We had to wait til we were older to help with the decorating. I hated that but now if a kid tries to get within 10 feet of the decorating of these it's lockdown.
My brother-in-law picked up one of the undecorated ones and we all looked at him like he was a freak that just escapes from a mental institution. In unison my sister and I said STOP!! PUT THAT DOWN!! What are you doing!!!!! It's not decorated yet!!!
He thought we were nuts. He obviously has not been in the room during the cookie decorating in years past. He said "I don't want a decorated one, I just want a plain one". Well, we said, again in unison, "Take a tree or a star but STEP AWAY FROM THE SANTAS!

We then proceeded to calm down and continue with the next step.
After all the lips are done then it's on to the cheeks and the hat.

For this step we mixed an egg white and some red food coloring and brushed these areas with the wash and then sprinkled with red sugar. I don't want anyone to even think of mentioning anything about eating raw egg white. It's a tradition, some risks are worth taking besides, they were my fresh eggs and could not possibly be bad. I actually had someone not eat these because of the egg white, she was a nut.

Here is the sprinkling taking place. I remember my mom would take a dry brush and painstakingly brush any sugar crystals that would get in around the eyes.

Next comes frosting the beard. The beard and the tassle of the hat are frosted and then fresh coconut is dabbed on. (I am not a big fan of coconut so Mom would always leave a few plain for me.)

Then one more step. The mustache, eyebrows and the curl of hair on his forehead have to be done. This is the most tedious. It is done with a brush with the frosting thinned a little. I have tried using a frosting dispenser (my brain cannot remember what it is called, it is late 9:45 pm, my bedtime is usually 9:00 pm) but Santa looks ridiculous with a spaghetti shaped mustache.

All done!
You have to be a little careful when thinning the frosting for the eyebrows or Santa will look like he had a stroke.

Here's the whole tray and some yummy candy canes too.
I am dying to eat one of these but I left them all at my moms house. I'm hoping there are some left for me. (Amy, are you reading this? I want some candy cane cutouts too and maybe a star. Please save me some.)

Diane, my other sister said we had to have some colored frosting or it's not Christmas. We used to make all kinds of crazy colors too, usually some awful shade of purple and brown (brown cause we had a horse cookie cutter and a Mickie Mouse too).

I think I like them best with white frosting and colored sugar. Ooooo, see the Santa at the bottom with no coconut, it's calling me. YUMMY!
Til next time,


DivaHick said...

Can I come over?

I'll bring milk! :D

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Gosh, so much work and focus put into each single Santa. It's shame to eat them. They are like little pieces of art....gone in one minute in two or three bites!

I like the peanut butter blossoms. yummy!
I also love having Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies and chocolate crinkles with all that yummy powdered sugar to stick to your lips..

wah. Is Christmas baking really over now?

Merry Christmas to you,
New Mexico