<b>DINING OUT | </b>By Mina Williams Herald writer
America’s culinary traditions are as far-flung as the corners of the globe immigrants have come from. Special holiday and celebratory meals put on the buffet the best of every country’s flavors. But it’s Christmas specialties, in particular those sweet treats that serve as an iconic crumb of home, that are cherished.
Cookies and sweet breads, candy, pies and cakes. These recipes are lovingly passed down through the generations on grease-stained cards, lacking specific measurements and many times without express directions.
Whether the home cook intuitively knows how long to fry an aebleskive or a buñuelo or can repeat the process of assembling a perfect panettone or juleage after years of observation, the crafting of holiday sweet treats is revered. The outcome is so symbolic many family celebrations are not complete without them.
Cookies alone are raised to an art form. Handmade or bought by specialty bakers, batches are given as gifts and exchanged with neighbors. From rolled and cut cookies that are iced and decorated with candy or fruit, to versions emblazoned with designs pressed into the dough, many cannot imagine the holiday season without Christmas cookies.
Most of the 35,000 cookies every American will eat in their life span are consumed during December, according to Mintel, an international market research firm.
Even those households that don’t fancy cookies keep a handful of gingerbread, fattigmann, shortbread, krumkake or reposteria cookies on hand Dec. 24 as a snack for that jolly old elf, Santa Claus.
From candy and pie to cookies and sweet bread, what sweet treat is the taste of Christmas?
WHAT OUR READERS SAID
My favorite treat is Frango mint chocolates that we get from Macy’s. We only get them in our stockings on Christmas Day.
My mom’s homemade goodie box. I look forward to its arrival every year.
Any treats shared with friends.
Cookies and pirogis.
I think cookies. And Mandarin oranges. Love Satsuma Mandarin oranges. They’re the best.
Next to my mother-in-law’s wonderful fruit cake is Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice coffee treat.
Homemade peanut butter cups.
Candy canes, peppermint tea, peppermint salt water taffy.
My mom’s thumbprint cookies with her homemade raspberry jam.
I really like peppermint merengues. There’s nothing like a good merengue!