As a young boy growing up in Wisconsin, Glen Coffman loved baking Christmas cookies with his grandmother.
He loved the smells — and the tastes — as they brought tray after tray of cookies out of the oven in the cozy kitchen.
Coffman, 60, continues the tradition today, making cookies that he shares with friends and relatives for holiday gifts.
“I have always loved holiday baking, and cookies in particular,” Coffman said as he mixed a batch of peanut butter cookies studded with chocolate chips.
“I never met a cookie I didn’t like. I got that from my grandma.”
He enjoys baking for his wife, daughter and son, and for friends near and far. He ships three or four packages of his delights to loved ones around the country. Recipients look forward to the sweet packages that come by mail.
Coffman has favorite recipes that he bakes every year. Then in November and December, he thumbs through issues of Bon Appétit magazine, looking for new recipes to add to the mix.
His son’s favorites are Peanut Butter Blossoms, a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle.
He loves the spicy sweet chocolate pinwheels, and the butter cutout cookies that were his grandmother’s favorites. His hazelnut shortbread recipe ships well.
“I don’t make everything in one day, but spread it out over a week or so,” said Coffman, who went to pastry school in San Francisco and cooks for a fraternity at the University of Arizona.
He finds that cookies make the best gifts of all, far better than a scarf or some doodad from the mall.
“And cookies are so much better when you make them yourself,” he said.
He bakes for his family’s celebrations — Italian panettone, a Yule Log with mushrooms made from meringue and a Linzer torte are family favorites.
“I have such great memories of baking in my grandmother’s kitchen,” Coffman said. “She was a really good cookie maker, and it’s my favorite thing at the holidays.”