I always loved Christmases growing up in England, and spending the holidays in the heat of the southern hemisphere far away from family has always led to much homesickness. But this year is different. Maybe it is because we got to have a trip to England this year. Maybe it is because we feel more settled here now, with me working, and the kids settled and happy in school. Maybe because this is the year I decided we’d start our own tradition.
I have these cookies that I always make at this time of year. I wouldn’t say they’re the best cookies in the whole entire world, but that is only because I let other people do that. See, I’m humble! When I make these, I’m reminded how we can never, ever let our kids near crack, booze, or anything else as addictive, but nearly as wholesome as my cookies.
The kids like to help with making them, almost as much as they like to help to eat them all afterwards. But this year, after allotting a couple for each member of the family, and Santa his traditional portion, I decided the rest of the batch was going to go elsewhere.
You see, I’m not the only ones who doesn’t get to spend time with their family. The guards at our consulate work year-round to keep us safe. We don’t have Marine Security Guards here, so these guys are on duty constantly. What’s more, they are the friendliest bunch of people on this planet, and always, always, make time for our kids and their quirks. Because many of these guys’ families are in villages far from Johannesburg, working on Christmas Day means that they don’t get to spend time with their loved ones for the holidays.
So, new tradition- they get the cookies. We wrapped them nicely, stuck the one nice photo of our family we’ve taken in years on them (which is also masquerading as a Christmas card), put Santa hats on the kids and drove to the Consulate to deliver our goodies. It felt great- even better than my belly feels with those delicious cookies inside them. So there you have it- new tradition.
Now, we have one more R & R trip during our tour to South Africa, and we plan on going to the UK for it. So I won’t be able to deliver cookies on the day here, but I’m thinking that there’ll be a police station, or a hospital, maybe a homeless shelter where the cookies would be appreciated. I have to do it- it is traditional!
So then I was thinking, because these cookies are too good not to share, what if I gave you the recipe*? And maybe you’d also share them with someone who has to work, or who is protecting all of us day in, day out, with no holiday break.
Makes about 3 dozen (ish).
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
8 oz white chocolate chips (or whatever you want, and it doesn’t have to be precise at all).
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Combine flour, cocoa, soda and salt in medium mixing bowl
3. In large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
4. Beat in eggs one at a time
5. Blend in flour mix
6. Stir in choc chips / peppermint patties
7. Roll into balls then flatten onto baking sheet
8. Leave space between each cookie
9. Bake 8-10 mins until set
10. Cool 1 min
11. Transfer to racks with spatula
*Slight note here: this is my adaptation from an original recipe and I have no idea whose. I found it in an old cookbook at my mother-in-law’s house before I was married. I have adapted it a little over the years, and it is a very forgiving dough that works at different altitudes and lets your play around with different chocolate chips etc.
I hope you enjoy them, but I really hope you share them. It turns out that is what Christmas is all about- no matter where you happen to spend it!
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