Tall Drink of Nerd: Christmas Cookies
A blogumn by Amy Robinson
Christmas tastes like a sugar cookie made from my Mother’s special Christmas Cookie recipe. Every year since 1963, the Henry’s have made Christmas cookies from a recipe Mom found in a December issue of Farm Wife Magazine. She keeps the yellowing magazine zipped safely into a gallon Ziploc bag hidden behind the Ball Jars in her pantry. As a kid, I would slip the Chipmunks Christmas album out its cardboard sleeve and onto the record player. Then, with Alvin & his brothers in the background, we would get to the business of making cookies. Mom would form the dough and manage the oven. My older, better sister Janet and I would press angel and bell and reindeer cookie cutters into the dough. Dad would help us decorate the shapes with red and green sugars and chocolate sprinkles. Our small rural kitchen warmed with baking cookies, but winter peeked in through the windows, keeping the glass panes chilled and iced with frost.
No office sugar cookie or shared holiday treat has ever tasted like those cookies. The secret ingredient is nutmeg. It’s such a simple little spice, but it changes these cookies from regular sugar cookies to Christmas cookies. I have had cookie-making parties with friends and shared with non-family. It just doesn’t taste the same to them as it does to me.
All my Christmas’s past are wrapped up in that little bit of nutmeg. One bite defines Christmas. It transports me to my Grandparents house, with all my Aunts and Uncles and cousins singing by candlelight every Christmas Eve. The Henry’s were tasked to bring the cookies. Our whole family would sing carols before we opened presents. The caroling would end with Silent Night as my Grandpa would sing it in German, by himself, then we knew that we were done singing. Nutmeg reminds me of that innocent me. The little tow-headed girl sitting with cookie crumbs on her Christmas dress and white tights, entranced by her Grandpa gently singing a song she knew well in a language she’d never learn.
Sugar cookie recipe and the Vienna Boys Choir singing “Stille Nacht” after the jump:
Mom’s Christmas Cookies (or if you’re into the “War on Christmas”, they would be Mom’s Holiday Cookies.)
1 and 1/4 cups soft butter
4 tsp. baking powder
5 cups flour
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375°
Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat ’til fluffy. Stir together dry ingredients
Mix all together by alternately adding milk and dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture
Roll 1/4″ thick on floured surface; (If dough is sticky, add flour to rolling pin handle. )
Place cookie cutters around dough and cut.
Place uncooked cookies on baking sheet.
Pile on the sprinkles, colored sugars, and assorted decorations.
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375° for 8 minutes.
Let cool, then frost any that didn’t under-go pre-baking decorating.