Some of my best memories of Christmases past revolve around the much-anticipated box of Christmas cookies sent to us every year by Grandma.  This magical brown cardboard box, which may have been any size but always seemed very large to my child self, contained within it enough combinations of butter, sugar, and flour to send us bouncing off the walls.

the dough beginning to form

Each and every cookie was individually wrapped in plastic.  This was because in order to make enough cookies to fill four huge boxes for all her sons and grandchildren, Grandma had to start baking cookies months in advance.  When the cookies were finished, she would wrap each cookie in plastic wrap and freeze them.  This way, when December rolled around, all she had to do was put them in cute packaging and ship them in the mail.  She put so much love into each cookie, you could taste it.  Just thinking about that box of cookies makes me so happy and so wistfully nostalgic.  It was one of the sweetest, most loving gestures- and we were so happy and grateful to receive them.

I don’t remember all the cookies she would make- a wide variety- but I remember kifli (of course), sugar cookies, maybe bars of some sort, peanut brittle, jam thumbprint cookies (I think), and primarily, I remember my favorite cookie of them all: chocolate kiss cookies.

Now any other time of the year I would tell you that kifli is my favorite cookie, hands-down.  But during Christmas time, chocolate kiss cookies take the top spot in my cookie heart.  They are like a pecan sandie- with walnuts- plus a creamy sugar coating and a soft chocolate center.  They melt in your mouth and have the perfect vanilla-nut-chocolate flavor combo.  Plus, they are very easy to make- an important quality to have during the hectic holiday weeks.  It had been years since I last had them, and I was eager to make them again.

Sadly, the recipe for these chocolate kiss cookies is currently lost.  They are not Hungarian, so they are not in my pile of Hungarian recipes that I have from Grandma.  There are other non-Hungarian recipes in the pile, so I thought it might be there, but no.  My Mom swears she has it somewhere (and I’m sure she does), but after an hour of searching she came up empty.  HOWEVER, my Mother is incredibly resourceful, and after five minutes of searching online she emailed me a link to a recipe that looked exactly like the cookies Grandma made.  I made them, and was thrilled to find that they also tasted exactly the way I remember.  I even rolled them into balls like Grandma did, and next time maybe I’ll make them with some fancy chocolate.

For now, I will just provide you with the link to the recipe on AllRecipe.com.  I will have to tweak it (if any tweaking is even possible- it’s already so delicious!) and re-post in the future.  Once you make a batch, here’s the best thing to do:  take the cookies (or the whole box if you receive a box of cookies in the mail from your Grandmother), put on your best flannel pj’s and warm jackets, pile the whole family in the car, and drive around your neighborhood together, eating cookies and looking at Christmas lights.  This was my family’s tradition every year, and between the cookies and the Christmas lights, it’s no wonder I thought that box was pure magic.

Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!

Love, Sarah

p.s. I wish I could have found photos of my brother and me in the car, in our pj’s, with the box.  If I was in Tampa, with plenty of time to search, I think I could have found something.  I asked my Dad, and he said we didn’t have any, but that “He could remember it like it was yesterday”.  Me too, Dad, me too! Maybe I’ll search next time I’m in FL and see if I can come up with something.  🙂

p.p.s.  Hey cousins- do any of you have special memories, photos, or traditions surrounding the Christmas cookie box from Grandma? Any special Christmas cookie recipes you want to send me to share next year?

Chocolate Kiss Cookies

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-kiss-cookies/detail.aspx

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