But I do remember: Christmas cookies! My mother spent hours making them -- cutting out shapes and painting them with colored icing and sparkling green and red sugar: Candy Canes, gingerbread men, Christmas trees, bells, snowmen, wreaths -- so many different shapes and sizes. After she made them all they would be put away in special tins and would come out on Christmas Eve -- as would any other Christmas goodies that she made.
The other thing she made every year, which I didn't take to at first -- except for the peanuts was this stuff called 'Chex' mix. The recipe was on the back of the dry cereals, Wheat Chex, Rice Chex and Corn Chex. The other cereal present in the concoction was Cheerios. And then the final ingredient was peanuts. All of this was mixed together and roasted with some oil in the oven. Looking over the ingredients in the original recipe, it would seem the Cheerios and peanuts were my mothers ingenious idea! By the time I was a teenager, I loved this stuff and wish that those cereals were available here in Britain so I could add it to my Christmas food list.
Growing up Christmas dinner was a repeat of Thanksgiving -- except for the desserts. I hated Christmas dessert as a child: Plum pudding and Mince pie and lurking in a corner somewhere was a fruit cake. I hated them all and I still do!!!
When I grew up and had my own family, I never got into the baking of Christmas cookies. Perhaps it was because my mother never included us in the process herself. I know many mothers and daughters for whom this is a very happy tradition and I can see why it would be. Instead I opted to choose favourite baked goods that were yummy but less of a creative endeavour. Chocolate chip cookies, the original Toll House recipe, of course. When I am in the States semi-sweet chocolate chips are on my list of things I can't get back in the UK. The chocolate chips you buy here don't melt right! Sounds weird, but that's the problem. Another problem that I solved was that you needed to add more flour to the dough to get the right consistency in the cookie.
Another chocolate chip goody that was on my list each Christmas were what I dubbed 'meringue-ee-doos'. Most of the incredients were the same as for the cookies, but the differences made these amazing. The dough would be spread on the base of a rectangular tin/pan and then the chips would be spread evenly over the top of the dough. Then you would spread over the top a meringue that was sweetened with brown sugar instead of white. Ohhh scrumptious! The recipe was originally given to my mother by the wife of a Yorkshire couple who were caretakers for our church in northern Vermont. And that would have been in the early '50's so it's been around for a long time...
½ Cup margarine
½ Cup white sugar
½ Cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks (save whites)
1 Tbs cold water
2 Cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 6 oz pkg chocolate chips
1 Cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 egg whites
1 cup brown sugar
Cream shortening. Add white and brown sugars. Beat egg yolks, and all other ingredients in Part 1. Grease pan (oblong brownie sort of pan 8" by 10" or similar). Spread mix evenly in pan.
Spread chocolate chips and nuts evenly over the first mix.
Whip egg whites until stiff. Beat brown sugar into egg whites until smooth and spread on top of everything.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 – yummmmy