RECIPE: Christmas Cookies with Grandchildren

The basic sugar cookie recipe is a canvas for Christmas. • Photographs by Michael Pateman

Watching my youngest grandson decorate cookies for Christmas brought back fond memories of baking cookies and decorating them when my children were little. I remember one year we had a Swedish au pair, and she made a Swedish flag: My kids learned her country’s flag was and made their own flag designs including a Union Jack in honor of their English father.

Making and decorating cookies was a tradition I was happy to resurrect with my two grandsons and their friend. Cormac, the youngest, was very generous pouring on the icing and loaded up his cookies with so many sprinkles, he could hardly lift them.

We set up newspaper on the kitchen counter and laid out the bowls of colored icing and an assortment of nuts, raisins, colorful sprinkles and chocolate chips. I had previously rolled out the dough and used cookie cutters collected over the years — gingerbread men and women, hearts, stars, wreaths and Christmas trees. With care and creativity, the kids designed and decorated the cookies. It turned out to be a fun project, lasting over an hour, one where even adults could get messy.

And everyone always wanted to point out “their” cookies to friends and family. Some were given as presents wrapped in red tissue paper but the kids’ own special creations were devoured slowly over the holiday. A yummy, family custom updated with grandchildren.

Rolled Sugar Cookies
Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Method:
In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar and add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture and mix thoroughly. Chill dough at least one hour or overnight.

Icing
Ingredients:
¼ pound softened or melted butter
2 pounds sifted confectioners sugar
2-3 tablespoons vanilla
milk or light cream
food coloring butter
Method:
Add confectioners sugar to butter in a bowl and stir, adding vanilla and a little milk or cream to make a smooth consistency.
Separate into small bowls and add food coloring

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Joanne Pateman lives in Southampton Village with her husband, Michael. She makes a family meal most every night.