“Here, you will need to learn these recipes!” My future mother-in-law pressed the cookbook into my hands. She was smiling, but I knew that she was serious. Pete’s mom was 100% Finnish, and now she expected me to help carry on her family traditions.
The Finnish Cookbook, by Beatrice A Ojakangas, was published in 1964, and to a great extent, the contents reflected that era. There were numerous casseroles and few vegetable dishes. Almost half the book was devoted to the “coffee table”—a spread of cookies, cakes, breads, tarts, and tortes all containing huge quantities of butter, cream, and sugar. It all looked delicious—and really, really bad for you. I quickly realized that while I might learn to make these things, I was going to have to ration them carefully!
Making and decorating cookies is one of our family’s Christmas traditions. I don’t make as many kinds as I used to, since the last thing I need is more tempting desserts hanging around the house, but when I tried skipping the cookies altogether, we all felt that part of Christmas was missing.
With our kids grown, we’ve evolved a new tradition. I make the cookies—either rolled butter cookies or gingerbread men—and then we all get together to decorate them. (See the bottom of the page for my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe.) At the end of the day, the cookies go home with the artists.
How much sugar can you cram into one gooey, delicious mouthful? Quite a lot, apparently. My creative son-in-law, Jeremy, came up with this new camping dessert while we were enjoying a weekend in the mountains.
To make one serving (note: Jeremy downed a number of these, so maybe this only makes a partial serving):
- 2 large marshmallows
- 2 squares of chocolate bar
- 2 large, gooey, chocolate chip cookies
Build campfire. Wait until flames are mostly gone, and coals glow red. Toast marshmallows until thoroughly melted, and brown on outside.
Scrape melted marshmallows off skewer onto a cookie. Shove chocolate into marshmallows to melt. Top with other cookie. Stuff into mouth. Repeat.