DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Dec 18 2017

A Sweet Tradition

by Dea Anne M

If there are two things that I can be sure of…right this moment…with a reasonable degree of certainty it’s that:

  1. Change happens.
  2. The holiday season is here.

In terms of the second point, I have a pretty relaxed attitude toward the “must dos” of the season. I decorate but just a bit. I cook a fancy dinner too. Generally though, I don’t travel this time of year, and I’ll do just about anything between Black Friday and December 25th to stay out of any retail operation that isn’t a grocery store. As far as the first point goes…well…what is there to say? Change happens. It just does and usually I find more to be amused about than dismayed. I have to admit though that there are a few contemporary holiday phenomena that sometime give me pause: inflatable lawn decorations, dogs in holiday sweaters, reservations required in order for one’s child to meet Santa. At the risk of sounding like the type of person who would say “Things weren’t like that when I was a kid,” let me just say that well, things weren’t like that when I was a kid.

Not that I have anything against dogs in sweaters. I mean, it’s not like I’m a complete grouch about this stuff.

One tradition that a lot of people can get behind, and one of which I thoroughly approve, is the baking and sharing of special holiday treats. I used to do a fair amount of baking this time of year but sugar is a very rare pleasure at my house these days, so I have only my fond memories of choosing recipes, baking up batch after batch of special cookies, and giving them to (presumably) delighted recipients. Christmas will be here soon but you still have time start your own sweet tradition or to pick up some new ideas if you already do holiday baking. Either way, DCPL has resources to help.show stopping

Holiday Cookies: showstopping recipes to sweeten the season by Elisabet der Nederlanden is a gorgeous book and includes recipes for special candies and fudge along with cookies that are truly showstopping. Also included are original and fun ideas for packaging your lovingly crafted 50 recipescreations.

You won’t find many surprises in Lisa Zwirn’s Christmas Cookies: 50 recipes to treasure for the holiday season but you will find lots of wonderful ideas for classic cookies including sugar cookies, gingerbread people and chocolate crinkles. Zwirn also includes fun ideas for hosting a holiday cookie swap or a cookie baking party.perfect

The Perfect Cookie: your ultimate guide to foolproof cookies, brownies and bars by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen includes far more than merely holiday cookies but there is a full chapter full of tempting sounding treats like Black Cherry and Chocolate Linzer and Stained Glass Cookies. And many of the “everyday” cookies, such the luscious looking Cranberry, White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies would still make festive additions to your holiday array. America’s Test Kitchens are known for their rigorous testing of recipes so when they present you with a recipe for something called Foolproof Holiday Cookies, you can be sure that they mean what Doriethey say.

Finally, I highly, highly recommend┬áDorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Greenspan is a five times James Beard Award winner and is renowned as a world class guru of baking. The recipes in this book are definitely ones that you won’t see everyday (there are even recipes for savory “cocktail cookies”!) and I guarantee that they’ll all be sure to please. By the way, that gorgeous thing on the cover of the book is a World Peace Cookie. Greenspan says of this particular treat, “If everyone had it, peace would reign o’er the planet. I’m convinced of this.” And you know what? If Dorie believes it then I do too.

A happy, and peaceful, holiday to all of you!

 

 

 

 

 

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