Posts Tagged ‘holiday cookies’

Although not everyone is enjoying Spring-like weather yet, we’re celebrating the blossoming season with our Flower Smiley Cookies. They make a great birthday, get well soon or thank you gift and will brighten the day of anyone who could use a smile.

Also, you can brighten up your desktop by adding the background image below. Just right click on it and choose “Set as desktop background”.

 

Flower Smiley Cookie Background Image

Start your day with a field full of Smiley Flowers on your computer!

We’re going to do a quick food association here. Get ready….

GERMANY!

Among the things that probably popped into your head were Beer, Bratwurst, Sauerkraut. I won’t say that the stereotyping is wrong here. Germans love their beer, bratwurst (actually all different kinds of delicious wursts) and sauerkraut, but there is just SO MUCH MORE to German food than this trinity of deliciousness.

There’s also dessert.

German Cookies and Desserts

My walk to school every day carried me directly by a bakery. Actually, it brought me by three bakeries. Walking by the first one awoke hunger. Walking by the second made my mouth water, and by the time I got to the third, a mere block away from the schoolhouse, my self control had been completely broken and I blame
Bäckerei Burkhard Jess and their delicious confections for the 20 lb. that I gained in one year. That’s right. 20 lb. Don’t judge me.

German Gingerbread

Hanging in the window of this bakery was one of the most typical, well-known and recognizable German cookies of all time: The Lebuchenhertz.

German Gingerbread Cookie

Lebkuchenhertz

The Germans are famous for concatenation, and this word is no exception. It’s actually two words squished together: Lebkuchen and Hertz. Lebkuchen is a type of Gingerbread and Hertz is heart. The word Lebkuchen is a concatenation in and of itself. Kuchen definitely means cake. The “Leb” part of the word has been the subject of nerdy discussion for centuries. Some think it comes form the latin “Libum” or flat bread or possibly from the term Laib which means loaf. Yet another theory stems from the term leb-honig, which is the crystallized honey harvested from beehives which isn’t good for much else other than baking.

As with many ancient types of baked goods, the ingredients for lebkuchen differ slightly by region. Honey is always present, and cinnamon, cardamom, anisseed, allspice, cloves, and ginger are the most common flavorings.

Lebkuchen has a long history. The modern iteration of the cake/bread/cookie has its roots in a monestary in the German town of Franconia in the early 13th century, but it’s origin can be traced back to the honeycakes of Egypt.

The Egyptians baked honey-sweetened and heavily spiced cakes similar to today’s lebkuchen and buried them in the graves of their Pharaohs as gifts to the gods. The Romans adopted the recipe and called it Panus Mellitus, or Sweet Bread. It traveled with them westwards and as the more exotic spices of the Orient and Middle East became more available in Europe, so did this sweet bread. But anyway, back to the Germany!

Though Lebkuchen was found in Franconia and then in Ulm at the in around 1296, the city of Nuremburg is the most famous exporter of the sweet in modern times. In fact, as of 1996, Nuremburger Lebkuchen is a protected product, and must be made in the city to be so called.

The Lebkuchen can be found in many forms. The harder type is typically made into the cookies pictured above and decorated decadently with icing. They are as synonymous with Oktoberfest as giant pretzels and can be found at any major or minor festival in Germany, all year round.

So, the next time you think of Gingerbread, don’t automatically think of gingerbread men. Think about the big hearted German Gingerbread Cookies!

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Sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, and baking powder or baking soda. By themselves, these humble ingredients are the main parts of infinite recipes, but when combined in a certain way, they compose one of the most traditional, well known and well loved cookies in the whole world: The Sugar Cookie.

History of the Sugar Cookie

The modern incarnation of the sugar cookie can be traced back to the mid 1700s in Nazareth Pennsylvania. There, German Protestant settlers created the round, crumbly, buttery cookie that came to be known as the Nazareth Cookie.

Nazareth Sugar Cookie

Plain Sugar Cookie

The Nazareth Sugar Cookie was adopted as Pennsylvania’s official cookie by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (House Bill 219,) though there has been some ambiguity concerning this issue after a 4th grade class at Caln Elementary School in Coatesville lobbied for a resolution that would designate chocolate chip cookies as Pennsylvania’s official cookie.

 

This blogger sides with the Nazareth Sugar Cookie for historical reasons despite her own personal preference for chocolate chip cookies.

Ancient History or How the Cookie Jumbles.

That’s right. Jumbles. Arguably, the precursor to the Nazareth Sugar Cookie is the Jumble, a biscuit that gained popularity in the 17th and 18th century in Europe chiefly because of the fact that, as a non-leavened food, it could be dried and stored for many months.

Jumbal Cookies

Jumble Cookies

Jumbles were known by many different names including gemmel, jambal and jumbal. They were often savory rather than sweet, flavored with rosewater or anniseed. They were traditionally shaped in knots and other intricate shapes and baked until crispy in order to withstand the test of time.

 

These cookies were introduced to Europe by the Moors of Spain and probably had their origins in the middle east where sugar figured heavily into the daily diet. These very early middle eastern cookies probably also included nuts and fruits such as dates.

Early Jumbles probably looked more like these middle eastern cookies than the mixture of ingredients that we see today.

Middle Eastern Cookies

Middle Easter Jumbals

Modern Sugar Cookie Traditions

The modern Nazareth-style sugar cookie has gained enormous popularity in America. Sometime in the 1930s it became traditional for children to leave sugar cookies and milk out for Santa Clause on Christmas Eve. Because of how easy it is to cut and shape the sugar cookie dough, customized sugar cookies like ours have become wildly popular.

It’s interesting to see how far the sugar cookie has come from its origins as hard tack for travelers. What was a necessity for survival has become a sweet treat for kids of all ages. What’s your favorite way to eat sugar cookies?

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Congratulations to Hollie Geitner, our winner, of this year’s Mother’s Day competition.  Below is Hollie’s story.  As this year’s winner, Hollie, wins a dozen Smiley Cookies a month for the next year.  Congratulations Hollie!


I had always wanted to be a mom, but my dreams were set aside after suffering a complicated miscarriage at 14 weeks of pregnancy in 2004. The next year, my husband and I decided to get divorced after four years of marriage. It was a very painful and trying couple of years until I met my now husband, Michael. We got engaged in early 2008 and shortly thereafter found out we were pregnant! We had a wonderful summer wedding and our attendants were his three children from his first marriage. On Halloween, our baby boy, Preston (aka Boo), was born, adding to our family. For my first Mother’s Day, my husband gave me a very special and beautiful sterling silver bead bracelet that spelled out “Preston.” I wear it every single day and think how lucky I am to have a wonderful husband, precious son and three bonus children who we see every other weekend. Life sure has some twists and turns, but if you go with it, your dreams will eventually come true!

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Wow.

We got so many great entries for our Mother’s Day cookie competition! You can vote for your favorite here.

It was really hard to pick finalists for this competition. All the entries were so heartwarming and sweet. Being a mother certainly has it’s rewards. Here are the ten entries we picked as finalists here at Smiley Cookie. Thanks so much for telling us your stories.

Elizabeth Fulton:
I’ve only had one Mother’s Day so far, but it was a lovely one. My husband and my daughter took me out for ice cream. I had a big banana split, and my daughter had her first bite of ice cream. A little shiver, but a great big smile. It was a nice afternoon. I look forward to my second Mother’s Day.

Hollie Geitner:
I had always wanted to be a mom, but my dreams were set aside after suffering a complicated miscarriage at 14 weeks of pregnancy in 2004. The next year, my husband and I decided to get divorced after four years of marriage. It was a very painful and trying couple of years until I met my now husband, Michael. We got engaged in early 2008 and shortly thereafter found out we were pregnant! We had a wonderful summer wedding and our attendants were his three children from his first marriage. On Halloween, our baby boy, Preston (aka Boo), was born, adding to our family. For my first Mother’s Day, my husband gave me a very special and beautiful sterling silver bead bracelet that spelled out “Preston.” I wear it every single day and think how lucky I am to have a wonderful husband, precious son and three bonus children who we see every other weekend. Life sure has some twists and turns, but if you go with it, your dreams will eventually come true!

Deb Morgan:
My son did at school, an entire book that he illustrated and wrote in third grade all about me! Why does he love me? “because she helps me with my homework, because she cooks good dinners, because she cares about me, she washes my clothes, she buys me rollerblades, etc,,,” He is now 18 and I cherish that book! I love all the gifts I receive from my children from the seedling that never grows but stays on the windowsill for a year, to tea bags in a paper teapot! Every gift is precious!

Monica Galore:
The best gifts I ever received were individual hand-made ceramic hand prints of my three sons.  My son’s made them in school.  Upon waking up on Mother’s Day, they presented them to me.  I can still see their faces beaming with pride and great big smiles. What a precious and sweet sight to behold!  These are such precious memories of Mother’s Day.  No wonder I love Smiley Face Cookies. They remind me of my three sons with their sweet smiles.

Sherri Craig:
My son who at the time was single and 20 yrs old. Bought me this teddy bear with a little jewelry box attached to it. I opened the box there lay a beautiful white gold chain with a pendant of mother and child the pendant was layered in diamonds. I told him it was beautiful that this is something you give the mother of YOUR children and it was much to expensive for me. I would feel better if he took it back and bought me something simple. He said, “you are a mom, your my mom and your the best mom there ever could be.” I felt the tears build up in my eyes. I didn’t have the heart not to accept it. I wear it everyday.
It wasn’t even the necklace I consider the best present it is the words that came from his lips. I must be a pretty good mom for my young son to say them without even thinking about it. That will always be the best present I could have had…EVER!! Money can’t buy words that are priceless!!!

Kimberly Harter:
No sappy story here just the truth. The best Mother’s Day gift that my husband and son got for me was a STEELERS watch and a SIRIUS radio with a year subscription. We were living in Maryland at the time and I was bumming outt because I could not watch all the STEELERS games on cable there. With the SIRIUS radio I could at least listen to them and the watch is the most worn peice of jewelery I own. I even wear it more than my wedding rings!!

Jo Ann Barko:
The best gift that drove stright into my heart was from my daughter Jacqueline.  Jacqueline went out into my garden and pick a few buds and one of the dogwood flowers. She then wrote this little note and put it all into a pretty silver leaft frame.  It read    ” Mommy,   You are the most beautiful person, and the most respected that I could have. When I grow up, I want to be like you! You are my idol and always will be. You have more than any mothers, I just hope I’m as good as you.   Love you forever, Bambino

Kris Rhoades:
My daughter’s school choir had a concert just before Mother’s Day last year and my daughter said that she was going to give me my gift that night. I video taped the concert, as I usually do, and during one of the songs she started signing the song. She and her friend had learned the sign language for the song and got permission from the teacher to do it that night. Of course I was worried that the video wouldn’t come out because I cried through the whole song. I was a proud Momma and it was the best Mother’s Day present I ever received! (I even posted the video on my facebook page so everyone could see it: http://www.facebook.com/krisrhoades?v=app_2392950137&ref=profile#!/video/video.php?v=75117605793)

Ashley Reynolds:
The best Mother’s Day gift I’ve received? Well, I’ve only had one so far! Last year, my son was 5 months old, and that’s all I needed. My husband and I had lost 2 babies by miscarriage the year earlier, so having my son in my arms on Mother’s Day, is as special as it gets to me!

Pamela Gage:
About 5 years ago, my Husband, Larry, asked our three sons if they would join us for dinner for Mothers Day. That Sept before, my middle son, Rob, had been married to our lovely daughter-in-law Liz, and I was having a difficult time with his “leaving” the house….as Mom’s sometimes do! We had a wonderful dinner together…and after dinner my sons each presented me with a card and small gift. My favorite gift that year was just so perfect, it brought tears to my eyes….Rob and Liz had made a certificate for “Time” to be spent with me….a whole day together! It was so thoughtful, and just what I wanted. A few weeks after that dinner, we went to the zoo, had a simple but delicious lunch together, and quality time that I will never forget. The best “gifts” in life don’t have to be expensive to be special, but time with family and those you love are priceless!

Now go vote on your favorite gift!

This post is another deviation from the normal cookie tradition post, because it’s not really about cookies.

It’s about taxes. (I know … ewwwww)

Tomorrow is Tax Day, and if any of you are like me, we’re frantically looking for that last W2 form and wondering why H&R Block can’t find a way to fit us in right under the wire. It’s hectic, it’s stressful, and it’s silly all at the same time.

I have some advice for you. Calm down. Eat a cookie. (I guess this post really is about cookies…somehow everything comes back to cookies.) But seriously, here are 5 reasons why eating a cookie will help you feel better about taxes.

  1. Did you know that sugar and carbs release serotonin which is the chemical in your body that makes you feel better? Comfort food is called comfort food for a reason: because it makes you feel better even when you’re stressed.
  2. Taking time out to do something frivolous (like eating cookies) will give you a chance to distance yourself from whatever frantic task you’re dealing with right now. It might even give your mind a chance to relax enough to remember that you stuck that W2 form in an envelope and put it on the mantle so you wouldn’t loose it.
  3. Tired? Need a burst of energy? One sugar high, coming up! Everyone always talks about how awful sugar is and how terrible calories are, but there are times when they totally come in handy. For instance, when you’re trying to stay awake after working on the most tedious task imaginable and it’s almost done…
  4. Cookies are a great distraction for children who have lost patience with their parent of choice who has no time for them at this very moment. Hide some cookies around the house and let those kids have a nice scavenger hunt. My mother used to do this for us, and though I don’t usually condone using sugary treats to bribe children, there are some times when it’s totally necessary.
  5. Reward yourself. You did it. It’s 12:01 AM and you’re just driving away from the post office box after checking 8 times to make sure that the envelopes all had stamps on them. Congratulate yourself on a job well done with a cookie that reflects the smile on your face. Then go to bed.

As a lover of all things cookie, I submit these reasons to you.  And what’s more, SmileyCookie.com is jumping on board. Even though we can’t do your taxes for you, we want to make you feel good anyway!  We’re offering a Tax Day discount of $10.49 for a dozen Smiley Cookies.  Just click here and cash in on your reduced price smiley cookies. Good luck everyone!

When you think about Easter, you likely think about Easter Eggs. But we have news for you, our cookie-loving friends. Easter Cookies are just as much a tradition around the world as eggs are. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of ethnic traditions involving baking around Easter, but we’re going to focus on some of the more well-known traditions concerning cookies.

Greek and Italian Easter Cookies

Easter Cookies

Koulourakia: Greek Easter Cookies

Cookies and sweetbreads are a staple around Easter time in many Mediterranean countries. In Greece, the traditional Easter cookie is Koulourakia. It’s a butter-based braided cookie with a hint of vanilla.

Italian Easter Cookies

Italian Easter Cookies

The Italians have a citrus flavored cookie made in a similar way. These cookies go by a variety of names: Knot Cookies, Lemon Knots, Anginetti and Taralucci are just a few. They’re tasty, crumbly Easter cookies frosted lightly, and sprinkled with multicolored confetti.

 

Nordic Easter Cookies

Swedish Easter Cookies

Semla: Swedish Easter Cookies

Semla are not precisely cookies. They get their name from the type of flower from which they are made: semolina. Versions of this delicious pastry filled with almond paste are served from Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent, until Easter in many Nordic countries. In Sweden, it’s called Fastlagsbulle. In Denmark and Norway, it’s called fastelavnsbolle, and is sometimes filled with whipped cream or jam rather than almond paste. In Finland, the pastry is known as Laskiaispulla. This traditional Easter bun can be found as far east as Latvia and Estonia.

The Easter Sugar Cookie

The sugar cookie is sort of the blank canvass of the cookie world. It’s easily decorated and so easy to make a variety of shapes with. For this reason, Americans have latched onto the sugar cookie for creating Easter themed cookies in a multitude of shapes. You can find bunny cookies, decorated egg cookies, flower cookies, chick cookies and almost any other shape and decoration remotely related to Easter.

We’d love to hear about your Easter cookie traditions! Maybe see some spectacular Easter Cookie pictures? Feel free to post in the comments section! Happy Easter!

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d write about the various cookies of Ireland.

The Oatmeal Cookie

Oatmeal cookies didn’t start out as the tasty, sugary desserts we know now. Back in the 1800′s, oats were plentiful in Ireland, England and Scotland. They were a staple food group for people and animals, used in a variety of dishes. Oat cakes were easy to make, preserve and dry. They were also inexpensive and filling. They were largely considered peasant food. Eventually, as more and more people could afford sweeteners, they began including honey, molasses and even sugar. The eventual result was today’s Oatmeal Cookie. Cookie gifts were often presented at the Celtic festival of Beltane to commemorate the beginning the summer season.

Shortbread Cookies

So, why’s it called “shortbread?” Well, it’s not because of height. The name “shortbread” actually refers to the ingredients. The term “shortening” is used to describe any fat that was used to create a nice, crumbly texture and rich, creamy taste. In this cookie’s case, butter is used.
Shortbread is extremely popular in Ireland and the British Isles. The dough holds its form while baking so shortbread can take on a number of shapes. Some of the most common shapes are shortbread “fingers” and shortbread rounds.

The Sugar Cookie

Often enjoyed at tea time, the sugar cookie is popular, not just in Ireland, but all over the world. Sugar cookies are simple to make and are the cookie equivalent of a blank slate. They can be cut into as many different shapes as you can think of and frosted in a myriad of ways.

Our Shamrock Smiley Cookies

Although they haven’t been served on St. Paddy’s day in Irish households through antiquity, we’re starting to see that our Shamrock Smiley Cookies are becoming a bit of a St. Paddy’s day tradition here in America. We would love hear about your St. Patrick’s day traditions and maybe even get a few pics of you chowing down on our Shamrock cookies!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Rarely is a company mascot also a delicious cookie. Yet what better mascot could a family oriented restaurant ask for? Since 1986, the a round, soft, buttery, rich delicious Smiley Cookie has been the happy face of Eat’n Park.

Even more than that, the Smiley Cookie has become a symbol of the ethos of Eat’n Park. We pride ourselves on being a community oriented business.

The Smiley Cookie Cruiser and Team Smiley make frequent appearances at community and charity events distributing smiley cookies and laughs to kids in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Every year, over 200,000 cookies are contributed to local non-profit organizations.

Smiley Cookies For Every Occasion!

Much like the restaurant, the Smiley Cookie has become a household phenomenon. Every child who has been to an Eat’n Park knows that their meal will be followed by this smiling confection. College kids and members of the armed forces get boxes of comfort cookies that are more than just a taste of home. In fact, over 10 million cookies are baked each year!

In the beginning, Smiley Cookies were baked and given as free treats to kids under 10 who ate at Eat’n Park. This is still very much the case, but they are now also a featured menu item as well. Though our classic round Smiley Cookie is our most famous face, the cookies have taken many forms over the years:

Eat n' Park Smiley Cookie

There’s a cookie for every occasion! From weddings to Halloween, we have cookie for that. We offer the option to customize your own cookie with any number of color combinations.

The official Home of the Smiley Cookie

We here at Eat’n Park thought it was about time that our icon had its own home online. This site will be devoted to reaching out to our community. You can expect lots of interactive posts, friendly competitions, discount offers and great stories about how Smiley Cookies bring happiness to people every day. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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