The Family That Bakes Together . . .
The tradition started with my stepson. About a week before Christmas, I would get out my favorite butter cookie recipe and all the cookie cutters--the reindeer, the Santa Claus (which for some reason always ended up looking like a chicken), the holly and berries, the heart, the diamond, the star, all the animals, and the butterfly (which was the most fun to decorate). Adam would stand on a chair so he could operate the buttons on the Cuisinart, and together we would make the dough. That was always at night.
The next morning, we would roll out the dough and cut it. The dough either got stuck to the board because we didn’t sprinkle on enough flour, or it stuck to the cookie cutters because we forgot to press them into flour before we used them. Adam would shake the cookie cutter madly over the cookie sheet to get the dough out but nothing would happen. Finally we would get our cookies onto the cookie sheets, being sure to eat a fair amount of dough in the process. Then came Adam’s favorite part: He got to put those colored sprinkles on them. I think the idea of these sprinkles is “less is more” but Adam always dumped them on. The cookies came out having this adorable but extremely unartistic red and green coating.
When Adam became a teen-ager, he stopped being interested in making Christmas cookies although he still loves to eat the dough. But fortunately my nieces came along. They too go wild with the sprinkles and they argue about whose turn it is to roll the dough or push the buttons on the Cuisinart. They make just as big a mess of it as Adam did, and the cookies come out just as great.
This recipe for My Favorite Christmas Cookie comes from “Great American Cookies” by Lorraine Bodger.
MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS COOKIES
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Sugar sprinkles in different colors
Cream butter and sugar in mixer bowl until light. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and blend well.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture and blend well.
Divide dough into 3 parts, wrap each snugly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to roll out.
Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out 1 piece dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters (press cutters into flour before using on dough. Chill dough if necessary). Place cookies on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
Bake at 350 degrees 13 minutes, or until golden. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.
Each cookie contains about:
121 calories; 109 mg sodium; 28 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0 grams fiber; 52% calories from fat.