Saturday, December 07, 2013

Christmas Cookies by Debra St. John

Christmas Cookies
Debra St. John

For me Christmas is all about tradition. From the decorating to the shopping to the events to the gatherings, we do things the same way each and every year. That's not to say that new things aren't added, but it's those time-honored traditions that really bring warm, cozy feelings to my heart for the holidays. It's definitely too hard to choose my favorite thing about Christmas...everything about Christmas is wonderful...but one tradition I love is cookie baking.

Growing up, Grandma would always bake her cut out cookies (recipe below) for the holidays. She's gone now, but Mom has carried on the tradition and makes them every year. She even uses some of Grandma's original cookie cutters, although she's added a few of her own as well. But even though Mom is baking them these days, the first bite always brings memories of Grandma. And there's nothing sweeter than that.

Until a few years ago, the hubby and I left the baking of Christmas cookies to the Moms. On Christmas Eve and Day, we'd arrive with empty cookie tins in hand and fill them up. But for the last five or six years or so, we've been baking our own cookies as well. I haven't been brave enough to tackle Grandma's cut outs yet, but we set aside a Saturday, gather the ingredients, and spend most of the day in the kitchen baking up yummy treats. And while we have our favorites, both to eat and to bake, it's fun to see what other people consider to be favorites. The sheer variety of cookies out there never fails to amaze me.

Of course all of this cookie eating can be hard on the waistline, so we always wind up sharing some of our bounty with friends, who are always appreciative.

So from our house to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Cookie Baking!

Grandma’s Old Fashioned Butter Cookies


1 cup butter - softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2½ cups flour
1 t baking powder
2 T orange juice
1 t vanilla


Cream butter, sugar, and egg until light and fluffy. Beat in flour, baking powder, orange juice, and vanilla until smooth and well combined. Chill 2-3 hours or until firm enough to be rolled. Roll out dough, about 1/3 at a time, on well-floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 400 degrees for 6 – 10 minutes or until golden brown on edges. Frost if desired.

Yield – 6 dozen 2 inch cookies

Note: For a crisper cookie, roll to 1/8 inch thickness. For a softer cookie, roll to ¼ inch thickness. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Maria K. Alexander said...

Hi Debra.

hanks for sharing your holiday tradition. I love baking. Generally, I take a couple days off from work and have a baking marathon. I give them out to family, teachers, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

The only trouble is making sure I don't make them too early and we eat them before it's time to give them away! Happy Holidays and baking.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Maria,

That's the problem isn't it?! You have to get the timing just right so your waistline doesn't get too tight...

Liz Flaherty said...

I love traditions--and the sound of that recipe, too. I may have to brave it, even though I'm usually a failure at anything I have to cut out! Merry Christmas!

Debra St. John said...

Hi Liz,

Yeah, I haven't been brave enough to try anything cut out yet. Soon, though... :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Christmas wouldn't be the same without Christmas cookies. My mom makes the best cookies, and we always leave with a tin full. :)

Happy Holidays!

Debra St. John said...

Hi Karen,

Moms definitely make the best cookies!

Lilly Gayle said...

My grandmother made the best cookies, esp. at Christmas. No one could ever make them as well as she did. Before she died, she admitted it was the cookie recipe from the back of the Nestle morsels bag and she would just substitute whatever flavors she wanted. Still, no one could make cookies the way she did...until my mom figured out the secret. It was all in the sifting. Pre sifted flour is not the same as using an old fashioned sifter. For some reason, sifting the flower made all the difference. Now, I still get my grandma's cookies at Christmas. Thanks for sharing your g-ma's recipe!

Debra St. John said...

Lily, Gosh, I never sift my dry ingredients, even when it says to. I probably wouldn't have much success with your grandma's recipes. :)

rbooth43 said...

Christmas Cookies and a good book and a cup of coffee or tea! Yum and Restful!