It wouldn’t be Christmas without

When I saw last Wednesday’s front page caption about cookies, I was ready to ditch this column and start over.

What? Someone also decided to write about Christmas cookies in December? Duh, Dixie!

But on that food page, I didn’t see my “memory cookie” recipes that mean Christmas to me.

I’m talking about cookies with an aroma and taste that take you back to Christmases past.

For me, it’s Mom’s Date Pinwheel Cookies. Oh, I love all the traditional cookies we bake at Christmas, but that old recipe Mom had since being a young married girl, well ... it’s the best.

Cookies, or all kinds of foods for that matter, mean Christmas for many of us.

I started asking everyone I met to finish to this sentence with a food item: “It wouldn’t be Christmas without ...”

You already know my answer.

Mom’s Date Pinwheel Cookies

They were one of Dad’s favorite too. This being our first Christmas without him really brings the memories flooding back. As Mom takes them out of the oven, we shed a few tears. I’ll eat one for you Dad, or maybe two.

Date filling:

1 pound pitted dates, chopped

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

Chopped nuts, finely chopped

Mix water and sugar. Add dates and bring to boil. Adjust temperature and simmer until thick/smooth stirring constantly.

Remove from heat, mix in finely chopped nuts; chill. (You may not think so, but this really is the right amount.)

Cookie dough:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon cold water

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon soda

Cream sugars/shortening, add eggs, mix well, add vanilla and cold water; mix; add flour/salt/soda mixture — mix/divide in three balls, wrap w/plastic wrap —chill a few hours. Roll out one ball at a time. Spread with 1/3 date mixture, roll up like a log, wrap/ chill. May freeze or slice/ bake in 350-degree oven until cookies are set/slightly browned.

Here are some of the answers I received to the sentence “It wouldn’t be Christmas without ...”

Nan’s special chocolate chip cookies.

Orange Rolls. Corn Pie.

Butterscotch Rolls.


Christmas Eve chili. A friend’s then 6-year-old daughter requested it. Now, she’s out of college, married and home from New York for chili.

A family cookie bake off: Sugar cookies, snowballs, gingerbread men. We do it all together, from ingredient shopping, to baking for 8–10 hours straight, to eating goodies the entire week before Christmas.

Take out Chinese at Grandma’s on Christmas Eve.

Christmas day: Call family, go to movie, pizza for dinner; pepperoni/ jalapeño for green/red holiday colors.

Mom’s Cream Candy.

Ham dinner and tamales.

A whipped cream fight.

Eggnog in coffee.


Prime rib.

Thin mints in a Christmas stocking — breakfast appetizer.

Enstrom’s turtles in our stockings.

Peppermint gelato.

Eggnog with butterscotch schnapps/rum balls/peanut brittle/fudge/Chex cereal mix with bacon drippings/pickled shrimp hors d’oeuvres

Cookies: peanut blossoms, sugar, spritz, candy cane, coconut bars, etc…

A Christmas Eve appetizer buffet.

Merry Christmas!


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