Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Memories with Recipes: Sugar Cookies

Christmas Memories with Recipes was published in 1988 in which "25 of today's master chefs and leading food writers share their holiday-food recollections." It is a cookbook full of the kind of essays (with 150 recipes) that I love to read this time of year. Hidden inside are about a dozen or more of these paper snowflakes I've saved, created by one (or more) of my kids many years ago. It's always a charming surprise, as I tend to forget about the delicate paper snow flakes hidden between the pages from one year to the next, until one (or more) falls out as I begin to look through it, and I am reminded of my children cutting paper snowflakes during the holidays.

Holidays are filled with memories: dogs eating cookies, kids cutting paper snowflakes, and everyone frosting sugar cookies. This is a photo from several years ago. Frosting sugar cookies is something all my offspring have done since they were old enough to hold a knife, eating (and wearing) a little less of the frosting each year. The holidays wouldn't be complete without us frosting and decorating sugar cookies.

And not just for Christmas. My mom made sugar cookies for all the holidays, changing the shapes of the cookie cutters, and the color of the frosting, with the seasons. My brothers, cousins, and I, all fondly remember how special they were, and how excited we would be, whenever she made frosted sugar cookies. It was an inexpensive, simple yet very special, way to celebrate the holidays on our land-rich/cash-poor cattle ranch during the seventies. These are my BIG PINK COOKIES, sugar cookies with the frosting tinted pink and flavored with maraschino cherry juice and cherry brandy. I made some awhile ago, and a special "thinking of you" super-sized one, that I wrapped in bubble wrap and mailed to my daughter in Austin.

All holiday baking and cookie cookbooks include a recipe for sugar cookies. And like with the Noel Balls, many people also have their own holiday memories of their mom's sugar cookies, with her recipe. In the cookbook, Christmas Memories with Recipes, it is none other than Martha herself, who shares her story of Christmas Cookies, with a dozen of her holiday cookie recipes, including Noel Balls and Sugar Cookies. Granted, Martha Stewart and others, such as these ladies (click here), use a considerable amount of finesse and skill, and produce much more impressive looking cookies than the garishly frosted cookies created by my tots and teens -or the simple ones made by my mom. But it is both these simple and garish sugar cookies, completely lacking in finesse but tasting just as good (or dare I say, maybe better?), that are a big part of all the Christmas memories I cherish.

Sugar Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg

Mix separately in a bowl:
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Mix in measuring cup:
1/4 c. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

Alternate adding flour and milk mixes into creamed butter. Combine well. Chill. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with seasonal cookie cutters. Bake 350 degrees for 4-7 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.


  1. I wanted to make Noel Balls last night... & I asked Wayne what his favorite Christmas cookies were~ he said "sugar cookies, duh!!" You've definitely given me the *baking bug*!! But I gotta go to Costco to get more butter, sugar & eggs :)! Yikes!!! Love the snowflakes, they are awesome!

  2. ok this is driving crazy. Long ago I stumbled into your blog and have loved looking at to lift my spirits. Now I'm figuring out you are here in Washington and didn't Annette and I sit with you at Anna Rose's 90th birthday party? Small world I guess....Maybe....

  3. Yes! We did sit together at Anna Rose's 90th. I can't say how honored I was to be included in that celebration. As several people have told me, "Anna Rose is a very special lady." It was nice to meet both you and Annette, and maybe we'll cross paths again soon -as you said, it IS a small world!

  4. Sugar Cookies looks great, they are now on my list of things to do. I have been making paper snowflakes with the children at work, I have a new takes you to another league of snowflake making. I must do them at home with my own kids. We have heavy snow forecast but it hasn't arrived yet. It is very cold and the Chickens have had warm porridge for their breakfast :) x