It’s that time of year again. Time to spread the holiday cheer; time to visit friends and family; time to play in the snow…….(I mean, work on your tan in the 75 degree December heat.)
Of all these, there are few Christmas traditions which I anticipate more than the opening of the shiny metal tin of sugary nostalgia that is Christmas butter cookies.
We all remember these morsels of pure heaven, don’t we? Many a cold Yuletide day has been spent cuddling up next to the tin, running my fingers through the doughy goodness, selecting cookie after magical cookie from their cupcake container homes. Pure bliss.
One myth remains, however. “They’re all the same,” I’ve heard.
At this notion, I scoff. The cookies themselves are as individual as the crayons in a Crayola box or the paintings of Van Gogh. They take on a life of their own much like a classic Shakespeare play. They fill your mouth with the melodies and harmonies of Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach. To view these cookies the same would be to view Citizen Cane with a blindfold or The Godfather with no sound. A true travesty.
To help clarify, then, I have rated the cookies in my Christmas tin this year. While all tins are different, these joyful treats are pretty much the standard ones which will inhabit any of the metallic masterpieces. So, sit back, grab a tin, and enjoy.
5. The Plain Jane
This cookie seems to have little purpose in the cookie tin. Considering its total absence of sugar coating and its seemingly boring round shape, one might jettison it to get at a more appealing one. Ah, but not so fast. Keep this cookie handy for a palette cleanser between sweeter cookies. In lieu of coffee or milk, this little guy is a 100% necessity to fully enjoy your buttery sweet experience.
4. The Sweet Jane
This cookie is like Plain Jane’s wild twin sister. At first blush, you might think they are the same, but upon closer inspection, you will notice the glorious, crystalline sugar coating of this cookie. My recommendation, when sitting down for a feast of tinned butter cookies: eat a Sweet Jane first.
3. The Swirly
Getting a swirly isn’t normally a good thing, but in the elfin land of buttery Christmas cookies, it is awesome. The uneven shape of this cookie is just what the doctor ordered, even though it lacks a sugar coating. Palette cleanser two? Yes. But the Swirly is something more. The shape transports your taste buds through an almost meringue-like portal, into a fantasy land of smooth, velvety richness that very few simple pastries can.
2. The Rec League
These rectangular beauties are akin to tiny pieces of simplistic yet intricate patchwork quilts for your mouth. Covered in sugar, providing that perfect amount of crunch, the Rec League, with its shape and relative thickness, is also a champ when it comes to dunking into a glass of milk or a piping hot cup of joe.
1. The Pretz
I think we all knew this was coming from the outset–a wire-to-wire winner. The Pretz is coated in magnificent sugar, thick and crunchy. When any patron of buttery bliss opens a tin, I feel that their eye is automatically drawn to the Pretz. In the words of Ralphie’s dad in A Christmas Story, “It’s indescribably beautiful.” You’ve got that right, Mr. Parker. It’s also indescribably tasty. Savor each and every morsel, and thank me later.