Monday, December 18, 2006


Today is my annual Christmas-Cookie Baking Day. (By "day" I do mean 24 hours, but they're usually not consecutive, because of bothersome things like sleeping and working that get in the way of the cookie baking extravaganza.) Every year I mark my calendar to spend the last, or second-to-last weekend before Christmas baking crazy-ass amounts of cookies. It's a family tradition, really. My mom does the same, and when we arrive at her house for the holidays she has stacks of Tupperware filled with baked goods. Family faves are peanut butter cookies and Nanaimo Bars, a delicious Canadian treat with a coconutty-chocolate base, a layer of vanilla custardy stuff, and a thin chocolate top. Delish. She also makes chocolate chip cookies, which used to be quite crispy, but not in the good way, in the greasy way. A few years ago I told her the truth about her chocolate chip cookies. Gently, of course.

"Mom, your chocolate chip cookies... aren't very good."

She looked at me and blinked. "I know they aren't. I don't know what to do about that."

I was so surprised! My infallable, domestic-goddess mom, didn't have a good chocolate chip cookie recipe! Crazy, that. I hooked her up with a couple of my favourite recipes, and her chocolate chip offerings have definitely improved.

My cookie to-do list this year includes Oatmeal Cranberry and Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread (both from the 2001 Martha Stewart "Cookies" holiday special magazine, which has proven to be an excellent investment at $5.95, Extreme Triple-Ginger Spice Cookies, Maple Stars (which I usually make as snowflakes), and my absolute favourites, Chocolate Chip and Peppermint Crunch Crackles (OK, maybe they're my favourites because I get to crush the peppermint candies with a hammer). Since I'm thinking about them (and my mouth is watering slightly), I think I might squeeze Nanaimo Bars onto the schedule, too. And I've been eyeing a recipe for Pecan Caramel Shortbread Fingers in that Martha Stewart magazine. We'll see how that goes.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread

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