Nostalgia: (n) A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.

Isn’t it interesting how our senses are so intertwined with our most vivid memories? I think that’s the reason I make these cookies every year at Christmastime; it’s like I can relive the smell of Grandma’s kitchen, the buttery taste of her cookies, the sight of her swirling the white powdered sugar frosting, and putting little red-hot candies on crispy surfaces. If you’ve never had these cookies, I’m sorry. Because you’re missing out. This recipe comes from the best cook I know. I still call her for her delicious recipes. And even as an octogenarian, she still cooks like nobody’s business.

Speaking of grandmothers, a couple of weeks ago, the wonderful grandmother of our children offered to take all 3 of them for the whole day. I have the. best. mother in law. Ever. And so, while she gave me time and opportunity to study for exams, I snuck in some time to bake, and photographed the process as I went along. Thanks, Mom H. I enjoyed my time of solitude immensely. And the kids enjoyed themselves with you even more.

Disclaimer: I am not the most domesticated, talented cook out there. I don’t even bake that often, or that well. But when winter rolls around, there’s a nagging desire in me to make the house smell good and satisfy my family’s appetite. Plus, it’s better than studying.

Holiday Many Way Butter Cookies.


First, sift 2 and 2/3 cup of flour with 1/4 tsp. salt. Keep in separate bowl. Cream 1 cup of softened butter. Gradually beat in 1 cup of sugar. Cream. Blend in 1 unbeaten egg & 2 tsp. of vanilla. Beat well. Add the dry ingredients.

Then, liberally sprinkle a flat surface with flour, like this:

Use lots of flour. You’ll be glad you did. Then dump the contents of your bowl onto said floured surface.

Roll out cookie dough into 1/4″ thick sheet. Be sure to keep the thickness equal. To make life easier, use a marble rolling pin. Because it works. And because it’s what my Mom taught me. (She always knows best.) –Then you can ask my 6-year-old twins what their 2-year-old twin selves did with my rolling pin handles 4 years ago. I hope they answer. Because it’s been bugging me for the last 48 months or so.

This is my favorite part. Get your Christmas cookie cutters and go to town.

Really go to town:

Place on cookie sheets fairly close to each other. The cookies don’t spread very much.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes, just until the edges start to brown. So good.

(It’s okay, you can ask yourself — “What’s up with the shamrock cookie shapes at Christmastime?” I know, the shape is probably intended for St. Patty’s Day. But I like them. See, my Grandpa Ryan used to say that there are 2 kinds of people in the world: those who are Irish, and those who wish they were. I’m glad to say I’m the former. So I bake shamrocks at Christmas. It makes me smile and remember my Grandpa.)

I do realize that it may be considered odd just how much I like Connecticut:

Make lots and lots and pile them on cookie sheets. Realize that it’s a lot of work to decorate them all. Get sick of it about half way through, and wonder why you doubled the batch, anyway. Eat a few. That way you don’t have to decorate them, right?

Go ahead. You’ll be glad you did.

**Note: the above image has my watermark, but it was taken by our oldest son. Which involved him showing a lot of patience with me instructing him on how to shoot manual and spot meter to get the image exposed correctly. Thanks, Joel. You’re a good sport.

“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.

~Oscar Wilde

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