Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cookie Avalanche

Christmas is a perfect excuse to exercise my love of baking and of feeding people. So, for the last fifteen years at least, I have been making up holiday cookie baskets for my neighbors, the mailman, the trash guys (the best way of guaranteeing good service from public works - schmooze them), my hairdresser, the lawn guy, etc.

These aren't the usual six chintzy little cookies in a cellophane bag with a bow. Oh, no, I make lots and lots of cookies. LOTS. I baked for two solid days this weekend. There were chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip, spritz (in four flavors), molasses, chocolate sour cream drops, lemon-raspberry, pecan sandies, snickerdoodles, thumbprints, oatmeal raisin. There were probably more, but I'm so tired my memory is starting to go. Then I wrap up 4 or 5 dozen of them per gift bag. It's probably several pounds of cookies.

And they're all good. I personally taste test them. (Can't let inferior merchandise go out, can I?) So, between all the mixing and baking and testing by the end of the baking weekend, I can't stand the smell of sugar. I roasted a chicken for dinner and all I could think was "Oh, thank heavens the kitchen doesn't smell like COOKIES!"

Everyone seems to enjoy them. Sometimes I get requests - my neighbor likes brownies, so I did a pan of them for him last Christmas. I included chocolate fudge with the cookies boxes for my hairdresser and her business partner this year and mentioned that the candy may get too soft at room temperature and may need to be refrigerated. They responded, "Oh, it won't last that long."

I just added two new neighbors to the cookie list this year. One couple moved in two doors down last spring. The husband has health issues and they have been having some bad times. It really seemed to take the wife aback that someone she only speaks to at the mailbox and waves to as she drives by would do this. It's such a little thing, it amazes me that people are grateful for the gesture. The new neighbors in the house behind mine will get their first holiday cookie drop tomorrow. I think they're Muslim, but a good spritz cookie is ecumenical.

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