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Cookies: We asked our staff for their favorite recipes, and they merrily rolled out their holiday best

Sunday, December 13, 1998

By Suzanne Martinson, Food Editor, Post-Gazette

Early in my reporting career when I was working for an Oregon weekly, I interviewed the stereotypical blond Scandinavian cook for a Christmas story. "We wouldn't think of putting out a holiday cookie tray with fewer than seven different kinds," she said.

That was Big News to me. In my Michigan farm family, the words Christmas cookie evoked one image: butter cut-out cookies frosted and sprinkled with green or red sugar. In later years, my mother added a Santa cut-out whose face was painted and intricately decorated. These Santas were so special and so time-consuming, I don't think I ever actually ate one.

Over the years, my family added a favorite cookie here and a neighbor's specialty there. On the job, right during working hours, I eventually was given a recipe for a cut-out cookie that didn't stick. My own little Christmas miracle.

Then, 10 years ago, my husband, daughter and I moved to Pittsburgh, the kingpin of cookies. In this city, cookies are not just a sometime holiday thing but high art. This, after all, is the home of The Cookie Table, which graces every event of any merit - from bar mitzvah to wedding. As a symbol of the pervasiveness of the area's cookie culture, when our daughter was to be graduated from high school, she had but one request:

"I want a Pittsburgh Cookie Table." She got it.

Just as The Cookie Table reflects the different ethnic groups and family customs that make this city so culturally rich, the holiday cookie tray is the touchstone of memories for many families.

Today, we share the recipes for the cookie that these P-G food lovers wouldn't be without on their cookie platter. Santa, eat your heart out. (Of course, if you haven't been all that good this year, you could share with him - and even with Rudolph, if you thought it'd help.)

Related Recipes:

Christmas English Gingerbread
Miniature Southern Chess Tarts
Award-Winning Truffles
"The Best" Cookies
Sacher Torte Cookies
Thumbprint Cookies
Coffee Bean Cookies
Christmas Cookies
Fudge Puddles
Lemon Cookies
Cranberry and Orange Ginger-Oat Bars

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