Friday, January 7, 2011

More on Christmas in Japan...and some cookies.

Christmas is a Christian holiday. With LOTS of commercialism mixed in. I knew Christmas was a commercial holiday, but when I learned about how the Japanese people celebrate Christmas, this perception was elevated to a new level. Read this guys description of the Japanese Christmas here.  He is right on the money.  Christmas cake, Kentucky Fried Chicken, illumination....just read it.

I found myself offended at this type of Christmas "celebration."  I mean, Christians don't celebrate other religions holidays, right?  Now, I am in no way suggesting that Christmas elsewhere isn't commercialized, it definitely is. But I have never before seen or heard of another holiday so widely adopted in a purely commercial way.  I think what really bothers me the most is that this was invented by KFC as a marketing ploy.  Now the vast majority of Japanese people believe that this is the normal way of celebrating Christmas in the Western world.  But it's not. 

Anyway, Karl and I celebrated Christmas with our regular traditions. One of which is baking cookies. Baking cookies has always been a huge part of my Christmas rituals. Since I was a tot, we would visit my mom's side of the family and make sugar cookies, Christmas wreath cookies, spritz, mounds balls, turkish delight, and sometimes more! A whole day was devoted to this delicious ritual. At the center of the festivities was the table devoted to the rolling out and painting of sugar cookies.

Sugar cookies are perfect. They aren't horribly sweet, making it possible to prolong your indulgence. To achieve sugar cookie nirvana, these sugar cookies simply must be consumed along with a steaming cup of hot chocolate or a glass of cold milk. Heaven.

Since I failed to bring along my trusty Betty Crocker Cooky Cook Book, I poked around online until I found this recipe: 

Rolled Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 c. softened butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
5 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

1) Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in baking powder, flour and salt. Chill overnight. (Important!!!)

2) Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out chilled dough, one portion at a time. Roll out on a floured surface to 1/4-1/2 inches thick. Cut out with your choice of cookie cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

3) Paint your cookies: To make your paint, separate an egg. Place the yolk in a small dish. Add a t. of water and a couple of drops of your choice of food coloring. Repeat with various colors.  Use a small paint brush to gently paint your cookies. Use sprinkles too!

4) Bake for 6-9 min.


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