Thursday, December 21, 2006

the 34 cookies of Christmas: day 1

Over then next 34 days, we will be sharing in words and pictures, the many types of cookies we created this year for our clients (as well as our own holiday giving). Each day we will present a different holiday cookie. We have been making many of our cookies for over 15 years, and they have become both holiday favorites and tradition. Other cookies are new, with us trying new flavor combinations and recipes each year. Some are based on family recipes, some are created in our test kitchens, some are modified versions of published recipes. Each has a story and a special place in our hearts. We hope to convey our love for holiday baking through highlighting each of the varieties we created this year.

Our holiday baking was greatly influenced by a very special woman, who we would like to pay tribute to here:


In Loving Memory of Cheryl A. Hanzlian Bevacqua
(October 5, 1955 - January 31, 2005)

For many years, Cheryl and I baked Christmas cookies together. Many of the recipes that have become a tradition for me to bake each year are in large part due to her. She was at first a boss, later a dear friend and confidant, and always a mentor who has had a profound impact on my life in more ways than I can describe. The cookies I have baked this year, and will continue to bake every year, are a simple tribute to an amazingly kind, loving, and talented woman.

"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good"

Vanilla & Cardamom-Infused "Spritz"

Our first of the 34 cookies are a butter cookie made with an old-fashioned cookie press. Growing up. similar cookies to these were made by my mother. Nicknamed "spritz" by our family (due to the action of the cookie-press, perhaps), they were brightly colored and fun to bake. We have modified these cookies from our childhood memory to a more refined and spiced adult version. Infused with vanilla and cardamom, and dusted with vanilla sugar prior to baking, these cookies are crispy and deep in flavor. They retain their bright colors, fancy shapes (trees, snowflakes, stars, flowers, Christmas ornaments), whimsical feel, reminding those eating them of the children within all of us! And with the cookie press, they are still incredibly fun to make.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Dear, Mr. Orenji.

I'm finally reading the Christmas cookie postings, and have seen the error in my poor planning. I no longer have these delicious bites to savor whilst enjoying their histories and construction. I am, instead, left to opening a bottle of wine (Charles Shaw Klassy 2007), and tearing into complimentary airline pretzels from a recent trip. Lesson learned.