Sugar and Spice Make the Holidays Nice! 2017 Holiday Fun Guide


Oh, the magic of Christmas is upon us, and what speaks of the holiday more than the heavenly aroma of cookies baking in the oven? Since the 1930s, children have left a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa to snack on every Christmas Eve. It became a popular American holiday tradition during the Great Depression, and is believed to have begun as a way for parents to teach their children the importance of giving to others. It was also a way to show gratitude for the gifts they received during tough economic times.

And it isn’t just Santa who loves Christmas cookies! It wouldn’t be the same without a delicious assortment of sugar cookies in festive shapes: holiday wreathes, stockings, Santa and bells topped with red and green frosting – and of course, gingerbread men, snickerdoodles, and the all-time favorite, chocolate chip.

The Christmas cookies of today can be traced back to treats made in Medieval Europe from recipes that included spices such as ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, with almonds and dried fruit. By the 16th century, Christmas biscuits had become popular all across Europe. Lebkuchen, a traditional German baked treat; pepparkakor, a Swedish ginger biscuit or gingersnap; and krumkake, a Norwegian waffle cookie were popular at that time. The earliest examples of Christmas cookies in the United States were brought by the Dutch in the early 17th century.

Many folks enjoy the annual tradition of putting on an apron and heading to the kitchen to bake their own cookie favorites from family recipes. Others enjoy having a cookie exchange at the office or with family and friends. For home cooks, some of the most favorite Christmas cookies include peanut butter blossom (with a Hershey’s kiss on top), snowball cookies, molasses, Russian tea cakes, and Italian anise.

Baking, however, can take a lot of time, especially for busy moms and dads during the hectic holiday shopping season. But don’t fret – there are a variety of area bakeries that will do the baking for you!

At Crust – A Baking Company in Fenton, you’ll find a variety of holiday specialty items. Crust sells home -decorating kits for gingerbread and sugar cookies. New this year at Crust are take-and-bake cookie dough in Crust’s favorite flavors to bake at home. For something a little different, check out Aldo’s Bakery in Grand Blanc. They offer a variety of Italian party cookies and panettone, a delicious, traditional Italian holiday sweet bread.

King Arthur’s Pasties and Bakery in Flushing and Grand Blanc sells a Holiday Tray from Thanksgiving until Christmas. “There’s limited availability,” says Owner Judy Holdorf, “and the cookies sell fast.” The trays include an assortment of baked goods – gingerbread men, sugar, chocolate chip and shortbread cookies, Russian tea cakes, buckeyes and fudge. “Our trays have all kinds of goodies!” the owner exclaims. There’s a variety of decorated sugar cookies shaped like snowmen, Christmas trees, bells and stars. The most popular cookie? “Chocolate chip,” says Judy. “That’s what most people grew up with; comfort food at its best.”


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