‘The Cookie Guy’: Christmas cheer comes with cookies
People near and far have been the happy recipients of The Cookie Guy’s generosity.
Since around the early 1990s, Jim Moeller of Watertown -- “The Cookie Guy” as he is called -- has been making batches upon batches of Christmas cookies in his kitchen for a variety of his acquaintances -- relatives, friends, pastors and members of his church, work colleagues and local businesses being among them.
This year, he said his goal is to make 325 dozen Christmas cookies -- if not more.
“I give away a lot of cookies,” reflected Moeller.
In fact, one of Moeller’s former colleagues at Trinity-St. Luke’s Lutheran School, where Moeller serves as principal, said he had OCD -- obsessive cookie disorder.
In an interview with the Daily Times this week, Moeller said his local tradition started when he gave Christmas cookies to the Tuesday Ladies, a group of volunteers from St. Luke’s Lutheran Church and Trinity Lutheran Church who get together Tuesday mornings to assist with a variety of projects for the school.
“I remember thinking, what can I give to them to thank them for their work ... and so I started giving them cookies and it’s just kind of gone from there,” he said.
It’s a treat the ladies seem to look forward to, he added.
“One of the ladies said to me, ‘I take these home and I hide them from my husband. These are my cookies.’”
Moeller didn’t start baking later in life; in fact, the tradition of making holiday cookies stemmed from his childhood.
“I watched my mother and my grandmother a lot because they always made a lot of Christmas cookies,” he said. “My mother and grandma were both very very good bakers.”
When his family came together for Christmas, Moeller remembered the ladies gathering to “discuss cookies” while the men went off on their own and the children played. During the holiday season, he also recalled his relatives laying out platters of Christmas cookies for when fellow relatives stopped by to visit.
“We were probably visiting or being visited just about every night between Christmas and New Year’s,” said Moeller.
Moeller has been baking throughout his life. He recalled receiving an “old-fashioned” cookie press as a wedding gift, followed by a Super Shooter electric cookie press 40 years ago from his students at Abiding Word Lutheran School in Houston, Texas. He still uses the latter today and said he has a back-up Super Shooter from his son in case the other one stops working.
Moeller said there is no planning when it comes to baking the large quantities of Christmas cookies he distributes in the area. However, he said he usually starts baking in October and freezes those he makes earlier on.
The types of cookies he makes vary greatly -- spritz, peanut butter blossoms, coconut cookies, raspberry almond thumbprints and lemon slice sugar cookies, just to name a few -- and many of the cookie recipes he has come from his family, whether they were original recipes or clipped from a magazine or recipe book by a relative.
When the cookies are finished, Moeller packages them in plastic cookie boxes and hands them out. He also distributes plates of cookies and even mails some cookie packages out to family members and former colleagues who live farther away.
When distributing the cookies around, Moeller feels they act as a way of saying thanks to those who have been there to help him out. “To me, it’s a thank you. There’s nothing that says thank you like Christmas cookies.”
However, he also likes giving them to those whom he knows will appreciate them, and are familiar with the cookie-baking traditions of years ago.
It’s a tradition he feels is fading in modern society. “I think this style of cookie baking is slowly getting lost,” he commented. “Younger families don’t have the time to do this. Mom and Dad are both working, the kids are busy.”
It seems Moeller is fueled by the ways of the past, though. “I think it’s tradition,” he said when asked what fuels his drive to make the cookies each year.
In fact, Moeller is currently working on collecting his cookie recipes and the stories behind them into a booklet for his cousin’s daughter, who lives in California.
Life is busy for Moeller this Christmas season. However, in the words of The Cookie Man, “It always gets done.”