By Carrie Havranek
Sometimes wellness mean eating the cookie — or, at least, making the cookie. I firmly believe that holiday cookies are the answer to the holiday blues. They are the thing I most look forward to making (I’m not unique in that way, I’m sure), the one thing that soothes the gamut of emotions that come up during the holidays. (I am a person who feels all the feels.)
For me, they are inextricably tied to childhood, nostalgia, and my mother, who did all of the baking growing up. Ever since she passed away 12 years ago, it has become even more important to continue the holiday tradition.
The One Holiday Cookie I Make Every Year
Over the years, I’ve tried new cookies (Nancy Baggett’s black and whites!), I’ve had cookies brought to me (the amazing Sicilian lemon drops in this book), and I’ve taken liberties with my mom’s rugelach, filling the cookies with Nutella instead of cinnamon, sugar, and walnuts. But, for me, there’s one recipe that I make again and again, the one I return to like a faithful companion: my mom’s sugar cut-out cookies.
It’s one of the first recipes my sister and I made with my mom and the first cookie recipe we made together at Christmas. As kids, we’d kneel on chairs at the kitchen table, dip the cutters in flour, and stamp the cookies out. My mom would transfer the delicate shapes to waiting baking sheets, and my sister and I would sprinkle away — with wild abandon if we were feeling silly.
For me, this sugar cookie takes away the sharp pang of sadness that feels inevitable around the holidays. It reduces the loneliness I feel on Christmas Eve now that I’m divorced and my kids go with their dad that day for his family tradition, my dad is much older, and my sister lives a couple hours away. It’s a solace to nibble while watching a Charlie Brown Christmas or Emmet Otter, and a spirit-lifter to share with friends and family.
A Healthier Sugar Cut-Out Cookie
Now, there’s nothing really healthy about my mom’s recipe. It has all the sugar, butter, eggs, and white flour, not to mention all the sprinkles. But it’s entirely possible to make healthier holiday cookies. Enter: these gluten-free sugar cookies from Eating Bird Food.
They’re made with coconut flour instead of regular flour, which makes them grain-free and gluten-free. Look for organic sugar and butter, and try dye-free sprinkles from Supernatural. These cookies deliver all the buttery goodness of my mom’s and all the fun of cut-out cookies, in a slightly healthier form.
I hope they bring you as much joy as they bring me.