There’s nothing like the smell of cookies baking to spark thoughts of Christmas! All the senses are connected with memories, but the sense of smell, in particular, sparks a flurry of emotional memories.

The weekend after Thanksgiving triggers the “Mom” in me to start the “ritual” of making Christmas cookies. Every member of our family has a favorite cookie, but the decorated sugar cookie in the shapes of reindeer, stockings, stars, Christmas trees and angels, were our kids’ favorites. I found it most efficient to dedicate one day to making all the batches of cookies (upwards of seven different recipes), a second day to baking the batches of cookies, and a third day to “overseeing” the kids decorating their sugar cookies, and carefully baking the lovingly decorated works of art (cookies). SO loved are these cookies, only Santa would dare to eat them – if you know what I mean!

Curious to know the origins of the Christmas cookie, I did a little research. Here’s what I learned …

Cookies appear to have their origins in 7th century Persia. They spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain.

The word cookie or “cooky” is derived from the Dutch word koekje which means, “small cake.” Cookies date back to medieval times when Winter Solstice celebrations centered on food. Most gifts were handmade, and gifts of food were preferred.

Christmas was a time for visiting family and friends and cookies could be made in large quantities, didn’t require refrigeration, and, unlike cakes and pies, were easily stored and given as gifts or served when guests arrived.

Christmas cookies in the U.S. were brought here by the Dutch in the early 17th century, but the origin of the modern sugar cookie is credited to the Moravians who settled in the Nazareth area of Pennsylvania from Germany.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season full of favorite family traditions!

This is our newest, favorite (adult) cookie:

COMBINE butter and Earl Grey Crème Tea leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and steep on low for 10 mins. Remove from heat, let sit 10 mins.

POUR through a mesh strainer, pressing on tea to extract maximum amount of liquid, to equal 1 cup melted butter. Allow to cool slightly.

PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

BEAT brown sugar, melted butter, cardamom seed and granulated sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract. Beat until combined.

REDUCE speed to low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, scraping down bowl as needed, until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

DROP 1 Tbsp. balls of dough onto prepared sheets. Bake until edges are set but centers are still soft, 15-18 mins., rotating sheets halfway through baking.

COOL 10 mins. before serving

Prep Time 20 minutes. Total Time 38 minutes.

Cook Time 18 minutes. Yield 30 cookies

For our family’s favorite sugar cookie recipe go to:

Connecticut Media Group