Saturday, December 15, 2007

Traditions, Continued

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!


jaeyde said...

is the recipe still super secret under lock and key? ;)

Willow said...

well, I don't really know if the rest of the family even has it or makes the cookies. I'll ask them. Do you want it?

Anonymous said...

Looks delish, Willow! I love a cookie that's not too sweet (you can eat more of them that way!)

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to have your recipe if it's not Top Secret. :-) It sounds a lot like a sugar cookie recipe that my great-grandmother made when I was growing up. It just wasn't Christmas without Grandma Myrt's sugar cookies.

Also, I recognized a number of the cookie cutters as ones I had growing up, too. The tree ... the crescent moon ... the Scotty Dog. The Scotty dog was my absolute favorite cookie cutter when I was a child. I'd make a number of the doggy cookies and then give them out specifically to "special" people. It was a great honor to get a Debi Dog. lol Memories ... ;-)


Mary said...


These look much like the sugar cookies that Grandma made every year and she has some fabulous cookie cutters. I'm not sure who got them when she died.

Mom also made Grandma's sugar cookies, as I do. The boys like helping. Thank you for inviting all of your readers to share them. Mmm! Delicious.

Thanks also for the comment on my Saturday post. I always enjoy my visits with you.


Mama Mia said...

mmmm.... looks yummy. I make them every year, but they never turn out like yours. You just have it perfected, I guess.

Missing you!

jaeyde said...

willow, i have wanted that recipe for years!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Hi Willow - those cookies sure do look delicious! I love all your cookie cutters too - and how wonderful that they have memories to go with them. I also like the way you displayed them for the photos, you are very artistic with your photography today!

PS: Hope your cold goes away quickly.

kate said...

I haven't seen cookie cutters like yours for ages. My mum has some just like this, although she hasn't used them for years. The picture brought back some good memories of those little handles.

Your recipe sounds good. So often sugar cookies are way too sweet, so these sound perfect (they also look really good!)

What's best is that your children carry on the cookie tradition.

Robin said...

Those are just beautiful! My daughter and I tried decorating gingerbread men last week - she was much better at it than I am!

Bethany said...

Yum! I'll be over! Your cookie cutters look like my mom's! I need to start some baking also.