Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope all your days were merry and bright!
My personal holidays are always centered around family, friends, fun, and, of course, food. The holidays are the time when family recipes are dug out of the corners and crevices of the kitchen and displayed on the family table. Food traditions not only provide comfort and warmth during this time of year, it also allows the younger generations connect with their ancestors. It is almost like documenting a family history through food.
The family tradition that I have taken on is the tradition of family cookie decorating. All throughout the holiday season, I bake, frost, and share (and eat) cookies in all shapes and sizes. This year, my aunt came out for a visit so I decided to outsource my cookie frosting to my willing relatives. For the start of the holidays, I made a batch each of sugar and gingerbread cookies and used basic royal icing to decorate them.
Cookie decorating parties are fun for many reasons. One, you can decorate a batch (or three) of cookies in a short period of time. Two, it is a great way to bring generations of family together. It was so nice to see my grandmother, my aunt, my parents, and my sister sitting together and decorating cookies. The cookies looked different, the color patterns were a little unorthodox, and the icing skill level was different, but overall they came out wonderfully. The one detraction of cookie decorating parties is that you (as the creative baker extraordinaire) give up complete control over your creations. Yet that lack of control can yield creations many times better than you can create (case in point: my father made Santa bears and my sister created multicolored snowflakes). My recommendation – make a couple of batches of cookies and have a party, saving a handful that you can decorate yourself the way you want to.
Decorating cookies with my family was a tradition that I love to help continue. It not only provides opportunities for my family and friends to come together during this holiday season, but also allows them to flex their creative muscles. And the results are always very sweet!
Wishing you a very happy holiday and a healthy New Year!
What do you think of the new seasonal header?