Cookie Crazy and the Full Cookie Jar Challenge

I went cookie crazy this week.  See, I have a few surviving pieces of a collection of cookie jars (broke one by one over the years) that I used to fill up with store bought cookies: Keebler’s, Arnott’s,  Nissin Butter Coconut, Jack & Jill Pretzel sticks, Oreos.  Famous Amos, Chips Ahoy and Pepperidge Farms Black & White Milano I hide in a secret place.  Choco Mallows never sees the light beyond the supermarket checkout line.

Filling those cookie jars is a challenge! My dad never went past the dining table where it sits without taking a cookie, with or without his three cups a day coffee break.  My brothers ate two every fifteen minutes.  My mom eats hers after meals and I have a piece or two with my nighttime tea. 

I didn’t bake until my twin nephews came along. I taught myself basically and pestered Mae of Mulberry Lane Cupcakes. Had to bake, out of economy.  Snack time is a daily expense when you have a bunch of sweet tooths in the house!
 
My first cookie – Martians I call ‘em, cause they look alien to me hehe – was enthusiastically welcomed by all, shapeless as they were (much improved now, thank you).  Then friends asked to buy them so I experimented some more. Needless to say, the family is happy to be tossed some of my rejects but after the development stage - you guessed it - the cookie jars remained empty.  More so when I started on cakes.  Oh, they were happy for awhile, since my rejects are in bigger, fudgier, dense slices with goody filled layers smothered in frosting and chocolate! One version even had all sorts of trail mix crunchies on top (that one was gooood). Botched recipes (usually texture or "look") were considered a Godsend. When I started doing things right and the cakes started selling, no more rejects or test cakes! 

This November, compelled by a (tiny) whiff of Christmas air, friends started asking for cookies again.  Cookies are practical give and send-aways, shares good cheer more ways than eight slices could (plus you can’t cram two in your mouth and look adorable).

I wanted to feel the spirit too, and a full cookie jar smacks of generous, abundant goodness!
One cookie jar is a Christmas-y jewel tone crystal green with a bulgy, “pregnant” air about it!

But look’it what I’m dealing with: this was 8 hours after filling up. There used to be 40.  Beside the last cookie is a piece of bread - a tip to make cookies stay chewy - I guess I needn't have bothered!

Sure, cookies at Christmas is a Pinoy adaptation of a foreign tradition (so is Santa). 

We would still go for  halayang ube (purple yam jam), suman at latik (rice cake and sweet gravy-ish coconut jam dip), pinipig kakanin (rice cake with I forgot what its called in English, can someone tell me), maja blanca (this too), leche flan (dastardly custardly  eggy downfall of all), puto bungbong (bamboo hollow-steamed rice cake topped with budbod, Star margarine and sugar),  bibingka (somewhat hot cake like only cooked in big fluted tart pans under a pan of hot coals, topped with salted egg, butter, fresh grated coconut and sugar).  Eat with tsokolate-eh (hot cocoa) and don't hold the budbod (fresh grated coconut) or latik (coconut meat slow cooked in coconut milk reduced till the meat shrivels, turns caramel brown and glistens with the coconut oil coaxed out in the process.  You put these on top of the glutinous rice cake of choice.  There is no dethroning these delicacies but you can’t have them everyday (unless you have a death wish).

For me, too, other than chocolate, baking cookie smells (coupled with a slight chill in the weather, minus snow degrees) always brings a richness to an otherwise bleah Christmas.  Have you noticed that people take a tour of lights and extravagant, gaudily-decorated-to-the-point-of-near-electrocution houses and malls just to feel the spirit coming on? Blame the struggling economy (everyone is, having to shop on a tight, tight budget is putting a damper on the holidaying).  So now I am struggling to fill the cookie jars but on evidence, I think it best to do that…oh, on Christmas Eve, so that on Christmas Day there is no baking in this house! I have to hide from my inaanaks (godchildren) hehehe.       

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