The Cookies of Friendship
When I was young my favorite season with Christmas, not even because of the presents, but because of the mountains of sugar I got to create. My grandmother is southern in her soul and we made every cookie and cake a person could think of. This love of baking became instilled in me and I was named the family baker from a young enough age my Mom was terrified to let me do it alone. I learned and created until I found the best ways to make some magic out of dough. In High School I would bring a new type of cookie invention to school once a week and hand it out to the other students in my cross-cultural class.
The Christmas party every year was a pot-luck and all I was ever told to bring was cookies and so one year I brought my best friend Anika into the mix and she used her art skills to paint with light food coloring and egg white to create baked beauty without the need for frosting. In doing so, all that was ever needed was a light sprinkle of sugar snow. These baking moments between us solidified our friendship and to this day we look back on our lifelong cookie combo as a Christmas gift that still brings us together.
In this time of distance and longing, I am sharing our special recipe with you so that you can too come together across miles a bake with a buddy. We are doing it through a screen but that only means no matter what, friendship and the spirit of Christmas will endure.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange or lemon zest
2 whole eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons milk
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Egg Yolk Glaze:
4 whole egg yolks
2 drops food coloring per egg yolk, various colors
Dash vanilla extract
1. For the cookies: Cream the granulated sugar, shortening, vanilla and orange zest thoroughly. Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add the milk and mix. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt, and then blend into the sugar mixture.
2. Divide the dough in half, slightly flatten between two sheets of waxed paper and refrigerate, about 1 hour (or freeze for 20 minutes).
3. For the egg yolk glaze: While dough is chilling, separate the eggs, reserving the whites and placing each yolk into an individual small bowl. Add 4 teaspoons water and different food coloring to each yolk and combine to make the egg yolk glaze.
4. Roll out the dough on a lightly powder sugar dusted surface. Use cookie cutters of free hand to make different Holiday shapes!
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
6. Transfer the cookies to a lightly greased cookie sheet and paint the cookies (with a soft brush, we always used unused dollar store paint brushes) with the egg yolk glazes.
7. Bake the cookies, about 6 minutes. Don't let them brown too much or the color will fade.
8. Transfer the cookies from the oven to a wire rack to cool.
9. While cookies are cooling feel free to dust with granulated sugar, letting the heat stick like glittering ice or powdered sugar for a chilly snowfall. Even add frosting if you have an even sweeter tooth!
10. Enjoy the time you have spent making these treats be it alone, with family, or with friends. If you are alone, remember I am making them right here with you and am proud of you for doing something to bring yourself joy and others joy too. Resilience is the reason for this season and now sit back and rest in a dust of sugar snow and your memories of Christmas passed.
About the Creator
Becca is a chronically-ill lady, writes on health, humanity, and what it truly means to be alive. She invites you into her unique world, and the imagination, that comes with being stuck in bed. The world may be still, but words keep moving.
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