We spent many holiday seasons of my childhood at my grandparents’ home in Walla Walla, Washington. One fond memory I have is arriving at their home and admiring the containers and tin foil plates of Christmas goodies covering up the dining room table. My grandpa owned a popular restaurant in town and had no shortage of staff, customers, and friends who would pass all kinds of holiday treats his way.
It was during these years through dedicated testing that I developed sophisticated personal preferences for my favorite holiday sweets. This hardcore snacking on Yuletide goods has culminated tonight with my top 5 list of Christmas sweets.
5. Cathedral Window Cookies – You either love these or hate them. I still kind of hate them but thought I would give it the sympathetic fifth spot on this countdown. A cathedral window is a loaf-like, no-bake dessert that you cut into individual pieces. Its base is comprised of melted chocolate chips that hug multi-colored marshmallows. They look pretty and taste decent but we were “nice” and instead of hogging them for ourselves we gave them to Santa.
4. Hershey Kiss Peanut Butter Cookies – A true classic in our household as both my mom and wife make these. My wife’s version is so good that they were always requested by the vice president I worked for at Coastal Carolina University for our staff holiday potluck. You can either make a traditional peanut butter cookie or bake it in a cupcake mold and then place a Hershey Kiss (or miniature peanut butter cup) in the middle. Such a dynamite combo.
3. Buckeye Balls – My life changed when I tried my aunt’s buckeye balls for the first time. What do you get when you combine chocolate, peanut butter, and sugar? An absolute masterpiece. These are rich and from a texture standpoint very satisfying! Personally, I enjoy eating them chilled. If you have not tried them before, you might want to make a batch this year…you won’t regret it.
2. Peanut Brittle – There isn’t a better labor of love act than making someone fresh peanut brittle. Sure, this recipe is a little bit of an art but when perfected it is sooooo good. Peanut brittle is an old school candy that requires strong teeth and some chewing but it is worth it. Another aunt already baked peanut brittle this year and when I tried it, the taste was packed with nostalgia as it tasted exactly like the brittle a certain employee of my grandpa’s would make 25 years ago. Yesterday, my sister presented us with some delicious peanut brittle as well. A fun note: We would always leave a couple pieces out for Santa so he could feed them to his reindeer.
1. Christmas Sugar Cookies – No other holiday sweet can hold a candle to classic Christmas sugar cookies. Who doesn’t love a generously-frosted and sprinkled cookie in the shape of a reindeer, Christmas tree, or star? Or, for that matter, who doesn’t like decorating them and eating the ingredients along the way? These hit the spot and pair perfectly with a tall glass of milk. There really isn’t anything else I need to say…these are the best.
According to one of my favorite all-time Life’s Little Instructions, calories don’t count during the month of December. So, take full liberty when it comes to enjoying (and baking me) Christmas treats. Don’t Blink.