It wouldn’t be Christmas for me without Spritz cookies like my Aunt Esther made. Esther Anglemyer was a wonderful baker. She was used to making breads and pies in large quantities to feed everyone who visited their farm.
She always had tins of homemade cookies on a kitchen counter just inside the back door. When young nieces and nephews dropped in, those cookie tins made a welcome offering.
We stopped by at least once a week, when I was a young girl, to get our eggs, milk in gallon galvanized cans with tight-fitting lids (we took our empties back each time), and sometimes apples or fresh bread, and a few of those cookies.
When we stepped through their mudroom-type entry into the kitchen, there was an aroma of earth, apples, and spices all at once. It was the big farmhouse my Grandma Parry grew up in. Aunt Esther, my grandmother’s sister, was my great-aunt. For her family to give us these commodities on a regular basis was “just the way it was” when I was little. Now, I realize how wonderful it was that they shared so much with us.
When I was probably 11 or 12, Esther gave me a cookie press just like the one she used to make her Spritz cookies. She knew how much I loved them. That was before electric cookie shooters existed; it cranked by hand. If the dough was too cold, the press handle was hard to turn. If the dough was too soft, the cookie didn’t hold its shape. Pressed cookies aren’t quick and easy, but their shapes look special and the Spritz dough made with butter and almond flavoring is delicious.
Since then, I’ve made Spritz cookies shaped like pale red poinsettias, light blue snowflakes, yellow stars, green trees, and tan camels. Almost every Christmas I used the press Esther gave me until it finally broke when the crank twisted away from the lid. I have one now that pushes the dough out like a gun, but it’s not electric! That’s cheating.
When I make Spritz cookies at Christmas time, part of dear Aunt Esther Anglemyer is with me. That’s what Christmas traditions are about. We repeat things we’ve done in the past; we get out our Christmas things we’ve had stored away all year that remind us of someone who is no longer here. By remembering, we have them back with us.
The most special
Christmas gifts we
have are those memories.