We had our cookie day at Mom's house this weekend. It is a tradition that goes back to our childhood at Twin Acres and one of our most beloved of annual events.
This year we had 3 generations of us in the house ranging from 70's down to Jenna, the youngest at 11. Typically, my sister and her husband were there first and got to rolling and baking with Mom.
The kids and I and our friend Michael arrived shortly afterwards only to realize that, though I had remembered the 600 other things I was supposed to bring, I had forgotten the 2 batches of cookie dough made the night before and bless his heart, off Mike went to go retrieve it and the beer I forgot too. (You have your traditions, I have mine, don't judge).
Sissy and I rolled and baked, out went the cookies to the porch to cool, until we built up enough to begin the decorating marathon.
My niece and her roommate and my nephew and his girlfriend arrived as well as my little sister's Mom and her granddaughter with gingerbread cookies to decorate too. It wasn't our best year artistically but a great deal of fun was had. Mom buys new fun things to use each year from the King Arthur Flour Company.
We have a ridiculous collection of cookie cutters and utilize most of them. There are the traditional snowmen, Christmas trees, stockings, wreaths, and such. We also make the Christmas Goose, Christmas Owl, Bobba Fett, Christmas monster trucks, cats, doves, swans and miscellaneous others. Oh, and the Christmas squirrel dubbed "Griswold" in honor of Chevy Chase and our favorite holiday movie, Christmas Vacation.
My nephew's handiwork.
This year my nephew's girlfriend brought a sociology project with her. She had a list of questions about family for my Mom. As they were read and Mom answered we were treated to some of my Mom's recollections of her childhood and family.
Then she was asked a question and though we can't recall it, the answer was unforgettable. Mom replied, "I'd love to ask my Mom a few more things if I could." Innocuous enough you'd think but here we were 20 years after she passed away and my sister looked at me, and I at her and the tears just flowed. Then Mom turned around and her face crumpled too. Our Nana, Mary Japp Koch, was just that special. When she died she left a hole behind that can't be plugged this side of heaven. I wish so very much that my girls had known her.
Nana (seated) with Auntie Babs, Hyannisport, Ma
Christmas in Needham, ~circa mid "70's"
Back to cookie making. Mom found the recipe in a Good Housekeeping magazine from a Land O Lakes butter recipe 30 years ago. We have made them every year I can remember.
You can't go wrong. If you don't have a tradition like this yet, perhaps it's time to think about it. So here is the recipe, take lots of pictures and make your own memories to pass down.
Christmas Sugar Cookies and Icing
6 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 lb butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
mix flour and salt and set aside
cream butter, sugar, vanilla, add to flour mixture and stir well
refrigerate 5 hours or overnight
when ready to bake, using hand size amounts of dough, work on floured surface till it is roll-able, roll out a cut with cookie cutters.
bake in a 375 degree over about 10 minutes or until golden brown on the edges
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp Cream of Tarter
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 cups 10X sugar
Use as many bowls as you have colors and have fun!
If you want to pipe decorations, just add a little more sugar so it's thick enough.