A Christmas tradition that my mother, her mother, and probably HER mother's mother, passed down to me, and that I have passed on to my children, is baking Christmas cookies. Not just any Christmas cookies, but Grandma Graf''s Sugar Cookies.
The recipe for these not-too-sweet-even-when-frosted sugar cookies has been a family favorite for possibly 100 years. I bake some of these every year. This involves buying shortening, eggs, real vanilla, and buttermilk and, most importantly, choosing which cookie cutters to use. My grandmother and mother collected cookie cutters and their collections were eventually handed down to me. There were old, old ones that I remember using to cut out the sugar cookie dough at Grandma's house on the hillside when I was a little girl. Bells, rabbits, stars, flowers, crescent moons, trees, scotty dogs.
You can see that the cutters are well used and well loved. They're smashed, scratched and dented. But they still work just fine.
Through the years, Mom and Grandma branched out from the usual trees, bells and gingerbread men and acquired all kinds of non-Christmas cutters like cats, horses, cars, hearts, and teapots.
Last summer, I decided to share my collection with my children. They all chose their favorites and carried them back to their homes to start their own cookie cutter collections and their own baking traditions.
I shared the family recipe with my sister in law and she makes them at their house on the Christmas tree farm in Oregon. My brother prefers his cookies unfrosted, although I have never figured out why. The more confectioner's sugar and vanilla flavoring, the better, in my estimation.
Come on over to Willow's Cottage and enjoy some Christmas cookies with me!