Overcompensating? Maybe. My parents were Jewish, but not observant Jews. We didn't go to synagogue, celebrate Shabbos, or exchange gifts on Hanukkah. My childhood lacked spiritual content, as well as all the holiday magic.
What I learned about Judaism came from Bubbe. Strangely enough, my maternal grandmother was a devout Jew, who brought her own food when she came to visit, because her daughter didn't keep a kosher house. I spent a lot of time at Bubbe's house in South Philly, and celebrated the Jewish holidays at the old synagogue across the street.
Eventually, I met and married a Catholic man, and we began a long tradition of celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas with the kids. I love our holidays more than any other, but there are some childhood memories I will never forget.
Bubbe passed away many years ago, but I still cherish the times we spent together.
And the times I treasure most? Baking
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Bubbe would give me a ball of dough and let me cut out hearts, clubs, and circles with her old metal cookie cutters. She never had any written recipes, preferring to keep everything in her head, so I recreated her recipes the best I could.
Bubbe's Almond Glazed Cookies
Mix together ½ cup of butter, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 large egg.
Sift together 2 ¼ cups of flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp of salt, and ½ tsp of vanilla – and add to the mixture.
(The dough can be chilled in the refrigerator for an hour to make it easier to roll.)
Roll the dough on a floured sheet of wax paper. (I use another sheet on top) Cut out the shapes and place on a cookie sheet.
Brush each cookie with topping.
Mix 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp almond extract, and ground walnuts.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
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