Every year at this time I get nervous knowing that inevitably I will be invited to participate in the dreaded Christmas cookie exchange.
I do love the tradition, honestly, but the pressure it creates is immense. To be honest I am not the world’s greatest baker, despite the fact that I grew up in a bakery surrounded by delicious confections.
Apparently baking skill is not genetic. Thanks for nothing Mom!
Before I came to Canada I had never heard of a cookie exchange, nor was I aware that you can freeze baked goods. It was a whole new world when I realized you could make all your treats in advance and hide them away from greedy fingers in the freezer.
Imagine then a not very confident baker being asked to produce 12 dozen confectionary delights, package them up and bring them to be displayed in public.
This year I decided I would be prepared so starting in September I scoured every cookie, bar and muffin recipe book I could lay my hands on.
I started simple with Cookie Classics Made Easy, by Brandi Scalise. It was a great introduction covering all the classics from chocolate chip to shortbread to snickerdoodles.
Even an amateur like me couldn’t mess it up.
Having been lulled into a false sense of security I decided to branch out and got a little more adventurous with The Southern Cookie Book, by Southern Living Magazine.
This is where it got a little complicated with blackberry swirl meringue cookies and cream-filled chocolate chip wafers.
Suffice to say this did not end with a Pinterest worthy masterpiece. Imagine instead if you will an enthusiastic toddler being asked to make cookies, yes that is what the end result looked like!
In the end I compromised and found a book specifically for someone like me, Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookies, by Good Housekeeping Magazine.
This life-saving tome struck just the right balance between decorative and delicious and most of the recipes were easy to follow.
I won’t give away the secret of what I’ve chosen to reproduce en masse this year. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for the lucky, lucky people who get to sample the wonders of my baking.
Suffice to say lots of love and hard work will have gone into their creation even if not much skill did!
Now that I firmly have you thinking about Christmas and food, I’m sure it won’t be long before thoughts of Light-Up start to creep in.
This year to celebrate the season and to offer a little respite from the cold, we will be holding a special story time event here at the library.
Join us Friday, Nov. 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. for Lost Mittens, winter stories and songs for the whole family.
Adele Meadow is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Summerland branch and a baker in training.