Ever since she was little, my daughter and husband have baked holiday cookies. I think it had been a tradition between he and his mom. She told me that as a child he loved to bake. So it was my husband’s idea to carry on the tradition with our daughter. He even chose the recipe. While not difficult, the process is tedious. I’m very happy to leave this holiday chore entirely in their capable hands.
We have always shared the cookies with family and close friends. That’s how special they are. In elementary school, our daughter’s classmates looked forward to platters of the homemade treats not only at Christmastime, but also at Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving. They were disappointed on the rare occasion when there were no cookies, because of our busy schedule. Even now, our daughter’s friends are delighted when they are treated to a platter of cookies during Nutcracker rehearsals.
Shortly after Christmas, a year or so ago a nephew deployed to the Middle East on the aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln. My husband baked a special batch of these signature cookies as a parting gift. Our nephew would have enough to share with crew mates, and still have a hidden stash for himself. I wrapped each of the 50 cookies in bubble wrap so that there would be no breakage, or at least it would be kept to a minimum. Needless to say they were enjoyed, right down to the last morsel.
If memory serves me, the idea for these cookies may have come from me. The first Christmas my husband managed the Garden City, Long Island American Express Travel office, I made them for his staff. I used cookie cutters in the characters of the “Peanuts” comic strip, Charley Brown, Lucy, Linus, and Snoopy. They were as charming as they were delicious. But they were also a lot of work. I’m sure that’s why I kept my distance, and let my husband and daughter do their thing.
Some who have tasted these sweet morsels have remarked that my husband should start a business. Not one for entrepeneurial endeavors, my husband has declined the challenge, preferring to remain at his corporate day job. Thank you very much. I agree he’d never be able to charge enough for the labor that’s involved. And there are already competitors who do a very good job. Laboring for loved ones is reward enough for my husband, and even more, he relishes the time he spends with his daughter.
So from our family to yours, here’s a gift to share at Christmas, or any time you and loved ones gather.
I LOVE SHORTBREAD
About 16 cookies
Ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, salt, confectioner’s sugar
Utensils: medium bowl, dry measuring cups, long-handled spoon, rolling pin, cookie cutters, cookie sheet, potholders, spatula, wire cooling rack
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together in medium bowl, 3/4 cups butter, softened, and 1/4 cup sugar. Stir in 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and a dash of salt. Mixture will be dry and crumbly. Pinch mixture together with clean hands until it all sticks together. Shape dough into a ball. Sprinkle a clean surface (such as a kitchen counter or breadboard) with flour. Place dough on surface. Roll or pat out dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough with cookie cutter. Place cutouts about 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake about 10 to 15 minutes or until very light golden brown on the edges. Take the cookies off the cookie sheet right away with spatula. Cool shortbread on wire rack.
Mix powdered sugar with water, or milk, to paste consistency. Frost cookies as desired.