Cookies, the must-haves, during the holidays

Emily Gushrowski, Feature Writer

When the holidays come to mind, one of the first things people think about are holiday baking and treats.

Holiday baking became popular in Europe in the 1500s. During the holiday season, families would splurge by getting available spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and ginger. Sugar and butter would also be purchased to create the cookies or other baked items. Originating in the crusades, the gingerbread cookie is one of the original holiday cookies and was heavily spiced.

Holiday cookies began to show up in America in the 1600s with the arrival of the Dutch. Cookie cutters became available to American families in the 1800s when import laws changed. The cookies used to just be shaped in circles and squares, but now there are many different shapes, such as Christmas trees and Santas.

Cookie exchanges are also popular, in which friends and family come together to trade cookies they have made with ones that others made. This process helps people to exchange recipes that originated from generations and were passed down.

Popular treats include: Santa face cookies, Christmas dipped pretzels, snowman cupcakes, peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies, peanut butter cup Christmas trees, Christmas tree brownies, peppermint bark, and gingerbread man cookies.

Chocolate spoons are great for hot chocolate or coffee during the holidays. People simply dip a plastic or kitchen spoon in a chocolate candy melt and wait for the chocolate to harden. Some put winter or Christmas themed sprinkles on the chocolate spoons for a surprise in the drink after the chocolate melts and is stirred around.

Holiday baking and treats are used to promote good spirits and to bring family and friends together for a heart warming activity.

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