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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Making Chanukah Cookies

When I was growing up, one of our few family activities each year was making Chanukah cookies. Being the only Jew among my friends, we would make hundreds of cookies and package them up to give to everyone we knew. It was a beautiful tradition, one I looked forward to each year. We would cut out dreidles and menorahs, stars and Torahs. We would then carefully frost them in a rainbow of colors, then top them with lots of sprinkles. It was an activity that everyone in the family could take part in, from the time each of us was pretty young. Forget sufganiot (doughnuts) or latkes (potato pancakes) - for me, Chanukah was about those colorful cookies and the time we spent as a family making them. I haven't lived near enough to home to participate in the annual cookie baking for quite a few years now, and I have missed it quite a bit each year when my mom reported how she and my brothers (though fewer of them each year it seems) hauled out the old rolling pin and stirred up the frosting once again. A couple of weeks ago, I was at my neighbor's house when she showed me some Chanukah cookies that she and her adorable three-year-old had made. She had used the same cookie-cutters we used growing up, and decorated the cookies with sprinkles that brought the memories flowing quickly back. I told her how I had made the same cookies when I was growing up and she promptly told me that we would make them again before Chanukah started. So last night, I went over and had a nostalgic evening. This time, I was the adult, mixing the dough (and getting flour all over everything), rolling out the dough for my neighbor's three-year-old (hands down the cutest three-year-old I know), and supervising the cutting out of dreidles and menorahs, stars and Torahs, topped off with the dumping of more sprinkles than you can imagine atop those yummy in our tummy Chanukah cookies. It brought the memories flowing back. It wasn't the same, but it was so special. Happy Chanukah everyone!

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