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Family Traditions: Easter Peeps Cookies

Family traditions are very important to me, and it’s always cool to learn the history behind certain things my family does every year.

Over the weekend, my mom visited me with the plan of eating dinner together and then spending quality time baking and decorating Easter cookies. IMG_0736

For some families, decorated sugar cookies might be only for Christmas, but in my family we have a tradition of a “bird’s nest cookie,” which is topped with a marshmallow Peep.

As kids, my cousins, siblings, and I always waited patiently– or really, not so patiently– for these cookies to hit the table, and even now that my generation is grown up, eating a Peep cookie on Easter is something I have to do every year.

Not everybody loves the almost sickeningly sweet marshmallow that is coated in extra sugar, but in my opinion, that’s the second best part of the cookie. The best part is the homemade sugar cookie, which is made from a recipe passed down to my Grandma Rose from her mom.

Several years ago, Grandma Rose shared the secret family sugar cookie recipe with me, and it’s the only one I’ll ever use.  (You’ll find a copy of the recipe at the end of this post in case you want to try it yourself– I know Grandma won’t mind me sharing it.)

Finished Peep and the cookie cutter.

Finished Peep and the cookie cutter.

The real trick to making the perfect Peep cookie besides the right dough recipe is in the cookie cutter itself, as the cookie needs to be big enough to hold a Peep and a few jelly beans as “eggs.” Recently Grandma Rose decided to give me the other half of her trusted Peep cutter, and I was very eager to try my hand at making her traditional Easter cookies.

After a very early Saturday morning, followed by a full day at work, I’m not sure how I thought I’d be able to stay awake and be able to focus on making the cookies, and unfortunately the baking plans with my mom didn’t go exactly as we’d expected. Instead of us rolling out the dough together and baking, she instructed me to take a nap on my couch while she did the work.

Once I’d had a nice little nap, we chatted for a bit and then decided to divide the cookies to decorate them later on our own, which is how I spent a nice chunk of my afternoon today.

Something interesting I learned about these cookies is that they didn’t just start with my Grandma Rose, but were actually an invention by my great-grandma back in the early 1950s, shortly after the Peeps marshmallows were created.

Even with using the original recipe, my cookies aren’t quite as tasty as the ones Grandma Rose makes, but I hope that my friends and co-workers I plan on sharing them with this week enjoy my attempt.

What are some of your family traditions?

The sugar cookie dough recipe.

The sugar cookie dough recipe.

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