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OTHER ITA SITES:
Baking Christmas Cookies With Elvis
Mixer blades a whirlin', causing puffs of flour to dance and meld with the aromas of cinnamon and sugar and vanilla...oh my! Now add in the image of Elvis to this great little recipe. That's right. Flour, sugar, butter, and a pompadoured, hip-swinging crooner singing Blue Christmas. I'm not what you would call an Elvis fan so imagine my surprise at the fact that thoughts of holiday cookie baking are forever linked with the sounds of "The King." I give my sister all the credit. Anyway, in our family, holiday magic is made in the kitchen (with or without Elvis) and I am fortunate to come from a family of good cooks. From an early age, my favorite holiday memories revolved around time shared with my family singing Christmas Cantata music, bickering over silly things, and huddling around mixing bowls trying to follow recipes long since tattered, torn and covered with buttery smears from years gone by.
My mother is well-known for her Gifts of Christmas Cookies she gives out each year and in fact, begins getting calls from folks out of the blue in October reminding her not to forget to include them in the cookie bake that year. Operation Christmas Cookies is a big production. We made a lot of cookies. For a few days over Christmas break, our family of four would churn out about 14 different kinds of cookies totaling at least a hundred dozen cookies. It was not always easy or fun. We would find ourselves up into the wee hours of the morning still decorating cookies after mixing and baking all day. All of us covered in sticky icing and stuck with little red and green stars, the hour would get later and everyone's patience would wane. Through it all, we always ended up with lots of spectacular cookies. This delicious tradition went on unchanged throughout my childhood until my sister contributed a gift she brought home from her college life. Things were going along smoothly with long familiar Christmas songs being sung and quick sneaks of cookie dough being savored. Then the world shifted and the above pompadoured, hip-swinging crooner began , "I'll ha-ha-ve a blue (blu - hoo - hi -hoooo) Christ - mas (blu - hoo - hi -hoooo), without you...."
The little brat sneaked an Elvis CD into the changer! Did I mention that I am not a big Elvis fan? How dare she! I did fight this change for awhile but I have to say, when the album took its turn a second time, I found myself singing right along with everyone else. It was hilarious to me that listening to Elvis belt out Christmas music while we mixed up butter, sugar, and flour seemed...well, just like old times.
It has been fifteen years since my sister and I went off into the world to have families of our own and no longer get to share this most precious gift as a family. Coordinating difficult schedules left Mom and Dad with no choice but to go ahead and bake without us. My sister and I both bake a few of our favorites at the holidays but it will never be the same as when we were growing up. The incredible sense of love, connection and stability that my parents gave us with those holiday memories will always be treasured. I would give anything to experience it one more time.
You don't have to make a hundred dozen cookies for it to be this special. Invite your family over for a pre-holiday weekend of sharing, baking, and re-connecting. Ask your son, daughter, or grandchildren into the kitchen and bake up some magic together. The cookies are really good, too!
Below are some of our family's favorites recipes - you'll find them in our Recipe section! Try them this Holiday!
• Nut Yammers - my Mom and sister's favorite
Here's a Happy Holiday tip: indulge yourself with a treat of hot cocoa and cookies for breakfast! You'll feel like a kid again and smile all day!
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