Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Holiday Cookies and Treats
My first clear memory of winter is connected to our house on West Main Street, in a picturesque village on the Oatka Creek in upstate New York. My mother hung wreaths of red, crinkled cellophane with a single tiny red bulb in the front windows. We had a fireplace and my mother and father helped me make a long chain of loops cut from colored construction paper to hang from the mantle. Mom made her Christmas butter cookies and I associate their warm, safe smell and luscious, enveloping taste exclusively with Christmas. We mixed white frosting with food coloring to get red and green and I got to frost a few cookies, and then sprinkle on the multi-colored decorations. I ate several before bed each night with a glass of milk and it was heaven. And of course, Santa had to have some on Christmas Eve so my mom and I would leave a little plate for him—and a carrot for the reindeer.
Mom’s Christmas Butter Cookies
Sift together three cups of flour, one teaspoon of baking powder and half of a teaspoon of salt. Then cream together one cup of butter and three quarters of a cup of sugar; stir in one unbeaten egg, two tablespoons of milk and one and a half teaspoons of fine vanilla extract and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a third at a time. Chill the dough for one hour. Roll the dough onto a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Roll to one-eighth of an inch thickness. Use cookie cutters and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them five to eight minutes at 350*, watching carefully. Frost and decorate. Enjoy.