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Cookie exchange part 2

December 02, 1997

Cookie exchange part 2

By Teri Johnson

Staff Writer

Making Anise Christmas Cookies has been a colorful tradition in the Miller family for more than 50 years.

"As a child, my husband has memories of his family cutting out, baking and decorating this delectable treat and giving them to friends around their neighborhood at Christmas time," says Peggy Reiff Miller of Sharpsburg.

Of the families of the five children in that household, Rex Miller's family is the only one to keep the tradition alive.

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Peggy and Rex Miller started making the cookies when their 16-year-old twin daughters, Margo and Abbie, were toddlers.

"They would not consider letting us pass a holiday season without making anise cookies," Peggy Miller says.

As Peggy and Rex Miller have lived away from the rest of the family since the girls were infants, they often have invited friends to help with decorating. Clifton and Doris Smith joined the Millers this year.

Making the cookies is a three-day process, usually done over Thanksgiving vacation. The dough is made the first evening and rests overnight. On the second day, the dough is rolled out, cut and baked.

Rex Miller rolls out the dough, using a rolling pin that has been in the family for several generations, Peggy Miller says.

The base coats of frosting are added on the second or third day, and the decorating is done on the third day, or the fourth and fifth day, if it's a year they don't have much help.

The tradition was even more special this year. Rex Miller's mother, Mary Miller of Sebring, Fla., who started the tradition, is spending the holidays with the Millers for the first time since their daughters were born.

In other homes

Other readers also shared their Christmas traditions:

George H. Daniels doesn't remember where he got the recipe for Candy Cookie, but he knows they don't last long when he makes a batch.

Daniels, a retired cook who lives in Hagerstown, says he always has liked to bake. He makes cookies for his two children and three grandchildren.

Marguerite Currence of Hagerstown says she likes to try new recipes.

When she found a recipe for Peanut Butter Blossoms, she couldn't wait to try it.

"It sounded really good to me," she says.

Beth Close of Hagerstown originally tried the recipe for Banana Oatmeal Cookies because she thought it was something her father would be able to eat easily.

"He was diagnosed with mouth and throat cancer and had to have radical surgery to remove his mandible, which made it very difficult for him to chew and swallow," she says.

The cookies turned out to be one of his favorites.

"Dad passed away in December 1993, but I still make these cookies every year because they are also my favorite," she says.

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