We got cracking on Christmas cookies today by making my grandmother’s sand tarts. These simple treats used to be the ugly stepsisters on the family cookie tray, passed over for more complex mouthfuls made with ground nuts, molasses, cardamom or dark chocolate. Maybe its an aging thing, but suddenly simplicity reigns in my cookie pantheon. Just butter, flour, eggs, soda and sugar, rolled wafer thin, sprinkled with something pretty and baked. Its the crispness paired with the buttery melt that makes it so satisfying.
This cookie recipe makes a huge amount, so a certain fatigue sets in with all the rolling of chilled dough into paper thin slices (and if you don’t work quickly it gets too warm to cut and transfer to the sheets so you have to put the dough back in the fridge to chill out). So I get into production line mode and just shake red or green sugar crystals on top and call it ready for baking. Helen had a different approach. She made each little shape into a work of art, arranging toppings on her cookie canvas. You can see her inspired creations on the right (the boot has mud on the bottom!) while my plain Janes are on the left. I whipped out five sheets worth in the same time she made one. But I really wished I could sit and consider the integrity of each cookie. Since there’s still half a batch of dough to get through tomorrow, I just might take the slow train for a change.