Christmas Cookies in Los Angeles

xmas in la

Christmas in Los Angeles is a strange thing for an East Coast girl like me. As religious holidays go, Christmas in LA has been, more or less, a disjointed and soulless affair.

Christmas in my hometown was a quiet, snowy thing. Far from the reaches of a noisy city, our snow-draped village was so quiet you could hear the poetic sound of snow falling outside the window. The days leading up to Christmas meant we spent a lot of time thinking about putting on multiple layers of clothing, sturdy hats, thick gloves, weather-proof boots, and using ice scrapers and collapsible shovels in the trunk of our car so that we could venture out into the world an find presents for our loved ones.

barbie

Out here in Los Angeles, it’s hard to connect to winter celebrations when flowers continue to bloom and lush palm trees go on swaying in sunny Southern California. LA’s climate makes eggnog too rich and hot apple cider seem frivolous.Without the snow and the chill in the air, Christmas in LA seemed like a hectic, commerce-driven affair. I worked in restaurants through the twelve days of Christmas, serving people that talked about “re-gifting”, casually abused me with aggressive waving or cool comments.  I bit my lip when people paid for their expensive dinner and then skimped on the a tip.

But with the global and financial climate changing things for everyone, I see a different kind of Christmas unfolding in LA—one where friendships and family are celebrated with simple gestures. Parking lots of consignment and charity shops are packed with customers looking for simple gifts. Spontaneous craftiness has taken over as homemade gifts top the list of things to give. Suddenly, homemade gifts aren’t frowned upon. Friends all over town give music mixes, tins of cookies and chocolate, and homemade jams and jellies.

This year, I celebrate Christmas with a warm stove, a full glass, a happy heart, and my family of friends around me.

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Lexi’s favorite chocolate chip cookies
From the Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Every day

Martha's favorite chocolate chip cookies

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½-2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
* Parchment paper (this makes for easy removal and perfect bottomed cookies!)Preheat oven to 375° F. Cream the butter in a large bowl until smooth; add the brown and granulated sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well blended. In another large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat this into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto the paper covered baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and cool on a rack.

Happy holidays!

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Brooke Burton nominated for best food writing

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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.

9 Comments

  1. m
    December 23
    Reply

    Hi Brooke,
    How lucky you are to be in L.A. and don’t have to put up with snow, cold and driving. I love your blog on Christmas, you have such a way with words and descriptions, What a gift! y also enjoy the pictures very much.
    Have a wonderful Christmas you and Hans and a very Happy New Year!
    Love.
    The Youssefs

  2. Elizabeth
    December 23
    Reply

    Brooke, thanks for a wonderful post. It was 6 degrees at my house this morning, yet your post warmed me as I remembered the festive Massachusetts Christmases of my youth.
    Have a joyous holiday and thanks for being here!

  3. Jen
    December 23
    Reply

    I’ll send along some snow if you shoot over some of that SoCal sunshine to melt the snow that we’re buried in over here :) I used to split my time between NorCal and MA as a child, and I have to admit that Christmas wasn’t the same without the chilly air and snow. Maybe that’s why I stuck around here? Love the Barbi doll pic – too funny. Happy Holidays!!

  4. murfra
    December 23
    Reply

    Brooke,
    I have often wondered what Christmas would be like amongst the palm trees and warmth in places such as California and Florida. As much as I gripe about the snow and cold, I just don’t think it would be the same without them.
    Love your writing style–it flows so easily and draws me right in. Great blog about Christmas–love the pics you chose too! Merry Christmas from a cold Massachusetts girl! :-)

  5. The Food Librarian
    December 23
    Reply

    I’m a native Angeleno and kinda want to see a white Christmas (but since I’m from Los Angeles and think 50 degrees is freezing, I know I wouldn’t make it). :) Happy Holidays to you! Christmas and a walk on the beach is a fun tradition for me.

  6. Culinary Schools
    December 30
    Reply

    Hi Brooke.

    The Chocolate Chip recipe is delicious.

    Thanks for posting
    Kate

  7. Genevieve
    January 4
    Reply

    Newburyport is my favorite town in MA! I especially love the toy shops.

  8. […] My first Restaurant Christmas began one January 25th almost a decade ago when I recognized that only a few restaurant employees can take a vacation during the holiday season. In the world of restaurants, most employees—especially the managers—are required to work through the holidays because Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are some of the busiest days of the year. So rather than leave a career I loved because of missing out on spending time with my distant family, I decided to create my own kind of celebration. […]

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