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Family, Recipes

Tastes of the Season

The great Vanech Christmas Cookie Bake-off concluded last weekend with 10 varieties baked and ready.

I’ve written before about how Catherine’s tree nut and egg allergies changed the face of this annual family tradition. Lots of the old standbys — Black Walnut Crescents, Queenies, Sandies — are now just for reading. I often think, in fact, that I should donate copies to a good home. (Message me if you’d like them; the Crescents, especially, are melt-in-your-mouth amazing.)

And most years, we try something new on for size and then decide whether it is a keeper. (This year, that was a new fudge recipe. However, it didn’t set up and was unceremoniously dumped in the trash bin yesterday morning with a big, sugary thump.)

Among the recipes that make the cut every year (now with the help of egg replacer) is the Peanut Butter Crisscross. (Unlike some people, Catherine is not allergic to peanuts, which are legumes. She is allergic to tree nuts like walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, pecans etc.)

I remember these cookies from when I was a kid. Mom and Mimi made big, towering plates of cookies for everyone we knew. The baking went on for days; the tins of cookies made veritable totem poles, at least in my child’s eye view.

In recent years, I’ve been using this dough to make the Peanut Butter Blossoms — you know, with the chocolate kisses on top. But this year, we did Kiss-Filled Sugar Cookies, so at Catherine’s request the peanut butter went old-school.

If you are similarly engulfed in a big cloud of all-purpose flour these days, give the recipe a try.

Just be sure to have a hot cup of cocoa or glass of milk ready when these come out of the oven.


Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

1 cup shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup peanut butter

2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

  • Thoroughly cream shortening, sugars, eggs and vanilla.
  • Stir in peanut butter.
  • Sift dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture.
  • Drop by rounded teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Press with the back of a floured fork to make crisscrosses.
  • Bake in 350-degree oven about 10 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen.

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


4 thoughts on “Tastes of the Season

  1. Thanks for the recipe share! It’s especially wonderful that you’ve written about food allergies like Catherine’s and Max’s. Most people just don’t get it. I still have to walk around my mom’s house and remove all the bowls full of nuts and hide them when Max comes along for a visit. They see delicious snacks, I see potential danger and tragedy. People shove their hands into the bowls and then walk around touching stuff–especially the little kids. It’s hard to have a sense of humor about that.
    Anyway, another well-written vignette from Terri 🙂

    Posted by Celia Taylor | December 16, 2013, 10:53 am
    • Well, I was trained by the best! 😉

      But seriously, it is a challenge to educate people and keep your child safe while ensuring she (or he) can participate in activities.

      Food is so social, and Catherine has found it very frustrating to be the odd person out. When the kids were younger, they were more empathetic. Not so much anymore.

      During her choral trip to Disney two years ago, her roommates ditched her because they got tired of waiting on line while she asked about ingredients (grrrr). And she often waits until she gets home to eat rather than risk eating the wrong thing in a social setting.

      Next year, she goes off to college and I know you understand it’s one of the many things I’m already fretting about!

      Posted by Terri S. Vanech | December 16, 2013, 11:08 am
  2. These look delicious.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

    Posted by Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above | December 16, 2013, 9:23 am

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