Why am I doing this again? I asked myself as I slid the 84th cookie off the baking sheet and onto the cooling rack. Do I really need all these cookies, I wondered as I washed the peanut butter off my hands for the 11th time. Is peanut butter good for your skin?
Do I even want 5 dozen Christmas cookies in my house? Or am I really doing this, because it wouldnt be Christmas without Christmas cookies? Not exactly. Im doing it for my almost 97-year-old mother, for whom it indeed wouldnt be Christmas without Christmas cookies. For many years, she made dozens of fancy decorated cookies, which she took to the office for her co-workers, who gobbled them up like they hadnt had a good cookie since, well, since the last Christmas. For the past few years, Ive shouldered the duty of providing the Christmas cookies, although it felt like taking coal to New Castle. If youve never heard that expression, it means something like giving a gift of home-made bread to a baker. I could never match my mothers skills in baking cookies, but I did the best I could. At first, Id be irritated, after doing all that baking that I didnt enjoy, and carting them all the way to southern Indiana, only to find that she had baked a few dozen herself. Later, as her health declined, she was unable to bake, so she was grateful for my efforts. Now that she is in assisted living, I try to bring her home-made goodies from time to time. Im sure that home-made Christmas cookies on her table will brighten her Christmas season, but between you and me, I hate making cookies. Thats why a cookie exchange is perfect for me. I only have to dirty up one bowl and one set of beaters. The recipe I used this year makes a zillion cookies, well, actually about 9 dozen, not counting the two I ate not long after they came out of the oven. You see I had to do that, because these two were joined at the hip, so to speak, and that wouldnt look very good on the serving table. When youre sharing your Christmas cookies with other people, they have to look perfect. And for that reason, I chose a recipe that did not require piping icing onto fragile cookies or cutting perfect squares from a 9 by 13 pan. Its a recipe Ive used before with rave reviews. Although its expensive to make, and messy, with having to measure peanut butter, I keep telling myself, for all this trouble, Ill get in return a lovely assortment of Christmas cookies. Its a good feeling to know that my baking is done for the year. In case youre interested, heres the recipe for Butter Finger Cookies.
20 oz. Butter Fingers chopped up or crushed, 1 stick margarine, 2 cups chunky peanut softened butter, 2-1/2 cups sugar, 2-1/3 cups dark brown sugar, 4 eggs, 3 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. soda, ½ tsp. salt. Mix the wet ingredients. Add the dry. Stir in the candy. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper-line sheets. Bake 7-9 minutes at 350. Let rest on sheets 5 minutes before removing to cool completely.