By Darla McCammon
With very little time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, you might want to get a head start on holiday baking.
Did you ever think about the art in making those Christmas cookies we leave out, along with a cold glass of milk, for Santa to enjoy?
The history of those cookies dates back to Europe during medieval times. The 16th century saw these “biscuits” gaining popularity with the trading of spices such as ginger, almonds, cinnamon, pepper and dried fruits. In Germany, lebkuchen was the favored delicacy, while in Sweden pepparkakor was most popular. The Norwegians were in love with their krumkake.
In the 17th century, the Dutch introduced their Christmas cookies to the United States. It was not long until new, modified recipes created more demand. Around this same time, with more changes in trade and import regulations, the U.S. saw cookie cutters arrive in great numbers on our shores. These artistic symbols and shapes were in high demand. They were made so the cookies could hang on trees or lay on a platter for St. Nicholas to enjoy. The artistry in some of these metal dough cutters was impressive. The cookbook market exploited this new fad and began offering new and unique recipes that utilized the cutters.
Americans became extremely creative in their cookie-making and baking. Sugar cookies in particular have become a favorite. Learning to use pastry bags, decorative icing designs now often adorn our Christmas cookies. Using art skills in shape, size and design, pastry chefs also use rules of art in choosing the important colors that make each cookie distinctive. Santa must salivate when he is greeted with a plate of these amazing treats on Christmas Eve.
Today we can find poinsettia shapes, sleighs, candy cane cookies, stars, gingerbread boys, reindeer, angels and more. So from creating cookie cutters, to rolling out your own shapes, to adding decorative icings, one can definitely see art in Christmas cookie baking. Go to allrecipes.com and find a quick and easy sugar cookie recipe to get you started. Then let me know when they are fresh out of the oven. I’ll try not to get a speeding ticket getting there.
Upcoming and Current Events:
- Warsaw City Hall Gallery will have works by Steve Creighton on display through Dec. 27.
- Through Dec. 21, the Lakeland Art Association is offering their “Christmas in the Gallery” sale, which will include many of the works from the member competition along with unique gifts created by members.
- At 10 a.m. Dec. 13, there will be a drawing to win one of Creighton’s paintings. Enter now until Dec. 13 at Warsaw City Hall.
- If interested in exhibiting at Warsaw City Hall Art Gallery, e-mail a short biography and photos of two artworks, along with contact information to [email protected].