December 1, 2022


Mrvos Christmas cookies, baking holiday cookies in October, eggs
                                                                                                                                             Photo: Simply Recipes


I bake holiday cookies in October.  Way before Halloween.  

People look at me as if I'm crazy, but honestly, this way I'm not rushed during the holiday season.  Getting a head start and doing one batch a week makes baking more fun for me.  

I make five holiday favorites, beginning with the easiest recipe, the chocolate crinkles.  Then, I move on to the more time-consuming recipes.  By mid-November, the Christmas baking is finished.    

I rarely have trouble making the holiday treats, but this year, I decided to add a new recipe:  Grandma's butter cookies.  I was shocked to see a pound of butter is used (that's four sticks!) so I halved the recipe.  Referring to my late mother-in-law's recipe, I noticed that the baking time was missing.  It only read to bake until brown.  Okay, most cookies take about 8 - 12 minutes to bake, so I put them in 10 minutes.  And afterward?  Pale, blah-looking cookies.

I kept them in the oven for 5 more minutes.  That ought to do it.  


I baked them an additional five minutes.  

But they never turned brown, even after 20 minutes in the oven.  I was getting frustrated.  

My husband Jim asked, "What's wrong?"

"I can't figure out why these butter cookies didn't get brown."

"Did you follow the recipe?" 

"Of course," I said indignantly.  

And then I remembered...

I had separated the yolks from the eggs and added them to the batter.  But I had forgotten to brush the cookies with the egg whites before baking. 

This was like the time I set out three eggs to come to room temperature to make a pound cake, and then forgot to add the eggs to the batter.  In my defense, I was distracted by two hungry cats and I didn't realize something had gone wrong until after the oven timer went off.  Needless to say, the finished product looked like toffee. 

I thought about the sad pound cake while staring at the failed butter cookies.  Jim told me he'd work on them.  He found a basting brush and covered the already-baked batch with egg whites and put them back into the oven.  The batch browned nicely, giving Jim another cooking story to lovingly tease me about. 

Trying to forget about the butter cookies, I turned my attention to more familiar recipes like peanut butter blossoms, bird's nest cookies, nut horns, and sugar cookies.  Since I had been making these for many years, I had no fear that they'd turn out well.  But of course, Jim taste-tested them, just to be sure.

Photo: Cookie Connection
After baking each batch, I freeze them for the holidays.  When Christmas rolls around, they will be ready to be placed in tins for our family and neighbors.  With six different kinds, there will be plenty of variety for everyone. 

Sometimes, I get defensive when people ask why I begin baking so early.  They just don't get it.  It's what I do.  For me, October is the perfect time to start holiday baking.  Having baked two months in advance allows me more time to enjoy the holidays...

and I bet you were thinking...more time to go shopping for gifts.  

Actually, that's not the case.  As you might guess, by August, half of my shopping is done! 


To my faithful readers, thank you for reading my blog. 

Wishing you a sweet holiday season. Joyeux Noël!