With homemade cookies, the memories come baked right in

When I think about cookies, so many memories come to mind. Visiting with my Granny and trying to sneak into her cookie tin – only to find out it was full of sewing materials! My mom teaching me how to bake, was always a fun time in the kitchen. Last year, when we couldn’t be together for Easter, my mom, my brother, and I all made chocolate chip cookies and we had a zoom chat where we all enjoyed the same recipe. Of course, it wasn’t the same as being together, but we made the best of the situation we were in. To this day, one of my holiday gifts from my mom is a container mixed with homemade goodies. She bakes for weeks to put them together. More recently, I have been passing on my love for baking to my boys. Their favourite cookies to make are sugar cookies or gingerbread, so they can cut them out and decorate them. Mini egg cookies are a close contender as well. Spending time in the kitchen with them is one of my favourite things to do, so we often bake more than we can eat and share them with family.

December 4th is National Cookie Day, so I thought it would be fun to ask my co-workers to share their favourite cookie-related memories. Shortbread was a favourite for most, but the memories to go with them were full of heartwarming recollections with loved ones. Something as simple as a cookie can create memories to last a lifetime and that is exactly what these stories capture.

Shirley shared her favourite recipe is her Grandad Carter’s Shortbread. “When my parents were alive – the boys and I would bake a batch and give them to my parents. When I bake these, I think of the times I shared with my boys baking cookies and I would share the times I spent with my parents baking. Now I have made them several times with my granddaughters and I find I do the same – I talk about my parents and my boys.”

Susan shared her favourite recipe is Oat Cakes. “My paternal grandma was a short but solid Scotswoman who loved her cup of tea. She always insisted “I can’t drink my tea dry”, which meant you needed a biscuit or cookie to go with your tea. I was living at home for a while, after university, while working the night shift at the newspaper. My grandpa had died earlier that year, and Grandma came to stay with us for a while. My parents would both be off at work during the day, and when I got up in the afternoon, after getting home from work in the wee small hours, Grandma and I would share a cup of tea and a biscuit. It was a chance for me to get to know her a little better. Whenever I make oat cakes, I think of her.”

Heather shared her favourite recipe is Mom’s Shortbread Cookies. “I have lots of fond memories of baking with my Grandma Hill. Every year on my visit north to her place, we would plan to bake 2-3 items. She was patient and an excellent teacher. Her shortbreads with the jam filling were a favourite for us kids, and her rum balls disappeared fast with the ‘grown-ups’. I suspect because she used to say “you can never have enough rum in these”. Whenever I miss her, I reach for one of her hand-written recipe cards and bake.” Heather also shared that making shortbread is a holiday tradition. Every December 1st for the last 30 years she has been making them and now her daughter joins in on the fun.

Sarah shared that she is not much of a baker. “I don’t really have a favourite cookie recipe! But just thinking about homemade cookies reminded me of one of my Nana’s favourite stories to recount from my childhood. My brother Lewis and I had just arrived at her cottage and she’d offered us a chocolate chip cookie. Unfortunately, there was only one left though… so we would have to share. Our delight over the full sheet pan cookie – the largest cookie we’d ever seen – made this one of her all-time favourite reveals.”

Patti shared her favourite recipe is World’s Best Cookies (Grandma Penny’s recipe). “These are a holiday tradition, both throughout the year and every Christmas. They are a family favourite that I have been enjoying since Rod and I were dating – 44 years ago!”

Sharon shared that she does not like to bake but her go-to cookie recipe is No Bake Cookies. “My favourite memory of baking cookies is with my sister Priscilla. She is the cookie baker in our family, and I am not … so I would go over to her house and together we would make dozens of different kinds of cookies. The most time-consuming ones were the old-fashioned date cookies (a meal in itself). This was a tradition at Christmas time. Everyone would receive a huge bin of different cookies to share over the holidays.”

Lorna shared her favourite recipe is Whipped Shortbread. “These are a family favourite and I always make them at Christmas time. They are quite easy to make and taste so good – especially with a cup of tea. I also have fond memories of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa as a kid.”

As you read through the reflections, I hope you were reminded of a favourite memory of your own. I hope you take some time for yourself this weekend, or in the upcoming weeks to share some cookies with someone important to you – either in person or virtually. You can never have too many cookies (at least that is my theory) or too many memories to go with them!

Kimberly Bondame