Is there anything sweeter than a cookie exchange? I think so, maybe your baby's kiss, a husband's smile, a hug from a dear friend..but I have to say exchanging a favorite treat with friends, is SO sweet. One reason it is sweet is because it takes effort and it sends a ripple effect of sharing. First sharing your time, recipe and tastes with the friends that baked for the exchange.. then sharing the cookies with anyone that stops by during the holidays, okay, maybe sharing with anyone but your dog. I share a lot of things with my dog, like the couch, bed, leftovers, but not cookies. I am just saying.
Don't you love taking each variety of cookie and displaying on a special plate? I like setting out a sampling on my Mom's old tin cookie tier. It reminds me of her and I miss her- her and her signature cookies: Sand Tarts, Grannie's thin white sugar cookies and Moravian pfeffernuts. So the large cookie highlighted is my friend Sue's invention, the clever gal that she is, she found some cookie press that personalizes cookies for any occasion. This occasion is the monthly dinner with my Public Health Nursing and Social Worker buddies- it was knit night but it has expanded to Craft Night 808. Our intention is to craft, but mostly we catch up..gossip..philosophize, pontificate, and look at pictures of grandchildren and dogs and brides. You get the picture. Looks like we went a little crazy this year with the "nipple" cookies (sorry, nurse humor). Peppermint stick cookies, peanut butter, lacey's, chango bar, chocolate thumbprints with salted caramel, Mexican Wedding cakes, toffee and gluten free chocolate chip...
But why does my title say more than a cookie exchange? Because the group that got together last Tuesday to do the cookie exchange have spent over a decade working together at Adult Protective Services. We are a band of sisters, surviving the unimaginable, giving our best to help others at their most vulnerable, being where the buck stopped on passing people around, we stopped abuse with a wish and a prayer because that was what we had..there are NOT a lot of resources out there for our little program. People like investing in kids these days, which is important, but so are our elders, our programs are poorly funded, it is shameful and least funded are mental health programs services. The things we have seen and heard and read are the stuff of nightmares. One group of people with a specialized education on atrocities humans inflict on other humans. We know.
It is that kind of knowing when you have been arm in arm with each other in sadness, when you have straightened your shoulders and kept on keeping on. Comrades..and you know what? here is what is also soooo sweet: that we can get together in the comfort of familiarity, we find strength in each other, beauty, laughter and goodness in life, in people and in the little things like cookie exchanges and knitting together, which, although are little, are really big.
Please enjoy the recipe for Peppermint Stick Cookies, the author is noted in photo, she shared with me, and I share with you (and if you use chocolate chips as the recipe suggests, instead of Hersey's kisses, they may look a bit less nippleicious :-)