My Mom loved Christmas and always tried to make it special for us. She started baking right after Thanksgiving and didn’t stop till Christmas Eve. We always had cookies in our house and we gave cookies for gifts. Mom was a great baker; in fact she was the baker for our local high school for many years churning out hundreds of hand sized cookies every day.
One of the best traditions I hold on to most strongly is the tradition of baking Christmas cookies, many different kinds of cookies for the holidays; then giving those cookies to many people on our list. It was a way to give something of ourselves to others; to let them know we cared; and to show our love. We didn’t have much but what we had, we shared. Mom taught us at an early age that it didn’t matter what the dollar amount was, it mattered that you cared enough to give of yourself.
So, with that in mind, I plan to share 25 days of Christmas cookies this year. These recipes are from Mom’s family, other family members, some from the tearoom, my own recipe collection, and others Mom pilfered from newspapers, magazines and cookbooks. Mom always changed any recipe a little to make it easier to make, tweak the taste or just because she thought it sounded better with her revisions.
On our first day of 25 Days of Christmas Cookies, let’s make a cookie that lasts a long time; Basic Shortbread. It can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 months….that’s 3 months IF you can hide it from the family.
Pickwick Sugar Bowl Shortbread
Makes 4 to 5 dozen
- 1 pound butter, 4 sticks
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 cups flour
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar well, till light and fluffy.
- Slowly add flour mixing only till flour is incorporated.
- Form dough into small 1inch balls about the size of a walnut.
- Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Flatten dough balls with your hand, a cookie stamp or the bottom of a glass. We use a vintage sugar bowl with a decorative bottom.*
- Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or till lightly browned at edges.
- Remove to cooling racks then pack into airtight containers.
*We used an old glass sugar bowl with a design on the bottom to make ‘Sugar-bowl Shortbread’. Dip the bottom of the sugar bowl in flour then flatten the cookies with the bottom. You will need to re-dust the bottom with flour. If the flour coats the cookie too much, use a pastry brush to brush flour off before baking. You could also use a cookie stamp with a raised design to make the design on top of these delightfully buttery cookies.