Traditional Family Christmas Cookies

When I was a girl my Mom appointed me to be the family cookie baker each year at Christmastime.  I remember pouring over recipes in my Betty Crocker’s COOKY BOOK to choose the ones that looked the most delicious.  My job was to fill 7 or 8 glass gallon jars with cookies.  These jars lined the counter at Christmas time.

The cookies I usually decided on became our family traditional cookies and I made them year after year.  I remember making lots of crispy buttery sugar cookies.  Half were decorated with sprinkles, the other half I painted with colored egg yolk paint.  Here is my favorite sugar cookie recipe:

Ann’s Sugar Cookies
Cream 3 c. sifted powdered sugar with 2 c. softened butter.
Mix in 2 eggs, 4 tsp vanilla, 2 tsp lemon extract, 1/2 to 1 tsp almond extract.
Sift together and stir in 2 tsp soda, 2 tsp cream of tartar and up to 5 cups of flour.
Refrigerate 2-3 hours.  Roll out and cut.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake 375 for 7-8 minutes or convection 350 for 9 minutes.
Makes 8 dozen.

Of course I always double or triple the flavorings most recipes call for.  My Mom always taught me to do that for flavorful cookies.  These are light and crisp and full of flavor.

Here’s the recipe I used for the egg yolk paint:

Chocolate Crinkles were another favorite from this cookbook:

And I made these Thumbprint cookies, using jam or cut red and green candied cherries.

I’m not sure how I landed on Russian Teacakes the first time, but thank goodness I did.  These are my all-time favorite cookie Ever.  I only bake them once a year because they are a special treat reserved for Christmastime.  The real truth is, if I make them, I eat them.  They usually last, if rationed, right up until the January diet and exercise plans begin.

I have baked these “Snowball” cookies every year at Christmastime for as long as I can remember.  Today was my day for baking them here.

I also made a double batch of Grandma Elsa’s Persimmon Bread, another Christmas favorite.  A friend in Reedley sent me a box of persimmons this year so I could make these.

Here is the recipe card that has traveled with me everywhere.  This has become such a traditional recipe, that we stopped dating the card every time we’ve made them.  It’s a given.

These traditional treats have become a part of our family traditions through the years.  Not only are the cookies yummy, they remind me of my childhood and I have made them with my children.  In coming years I’ll introduce these recipes to our grandchildren.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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