Pre-Google, moms could just tell you stuff. Like make stuff up to answer your billions of questions. And we just believed her – because she was the mom. Sure, sometimes she might say ‘Let’s look that up in the encyclopedia’ or ‘I’m not sure, let’s ask your dad.’ But, in our house, there was a point at which with four kids bombarding mom with our questions, she just simply made it up.
Now, there’s the Google – a world where we can find anything out in the click of a mouse. The Google (I like to say ‘the Google’) has changed the way we learn and the way we argue. Now there’s no arguing, there’s only The Googling. I mean, why take a side when in just a nano-second you can be proven wrong…or right?
Pre-Google we were led to believe many things…One of the greatest and most delicious lies of my life was that the Christmas cookies we made and decorated every year (back in the day of suburban cookie exchanges…do they still do that?) were created from a recipe handed down for generations on my mother’s side.
A few years ago, when I decided to take a stab at the recipe in my apartment and treat my coworkers to a long-storied family holiday secret…I found out the truth.
I Googled ‘Christmas Cookies’. And ‘decorating Christmas cookies.’ And ‘holiday sugar cookies’….And, there it was. Right there on the screen of my Mac.
Did ‘Annie’s Mom’s Secret Christmas Cookies’ come up? No, no it did not.
As it turns out, what I believed were My Mom’s Secret Christmas Cookies…really belonged to someone named, Mary. Mary. They were Mary’s Sugar Cookies…But, still the best Christmas (or Chanukah or Festivas) cookies out there.
And, if you don’t believe me, you can Google it.
Mom and Mary’s Christmas Cookies (makes 5 dozen)
NOTE: There’s a chilling period of 3 hours … so plan ahead!
1 1/2 Cups sifted powdered/confectioners sugar – I sifted using a mesh strainer – but for the sugar, a real sifter would be easier…and quicker
- 1 Cup softened butter
- 1 Egg
- 1 TSP Vanilla
- 1/2 TSP Almond Extract/Flavoring
- 2 1/2 Cups Gold Medal Flour sifted – sifting flour through a mesh strainer is actually really easy and quick – much easier than sifting the confectioners sugar
- 1 TSP Baking Soda – sift this in with the flour
1 TSP Cream of Tartar – sift this in with the flour and baking soda
- Colored Sugar Crystals for decorating – I bought India Tree Sugar Crystals, expensive but really fun colors!
- Cookie Cutters – saved here by buying an assortment box at Bed Bath & Beyond
And the most important of all ingredients…One super 7-year old girl – you can substitute any child of any cookie decorating age here. But, my 7-year old sous chef was the best!
1. In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer, mix together the Sugar and the Butter
2. Add the egg, the vanilla extract and the almond extract
3. Mix in the Flour, Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar mixture 1/2 a cup at a time until smooth
4. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, divide into same sized balls. Cover each with wax paper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Go Christmas shopping. Sing carols. Decorate your home. Watch ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town’.
Preheat Oven to 375 degrees
5. Remove one of the dough balls from the fridge and allow to warm a bit (about :10mins on the counter)
6. Roll out the ball on a heavily floured surface to about 3/16″ thick. I like them thin and crispy – but this is really your call
7. Using cookie cutters – cut out holiday shapes
9. Put into the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes depending upon thickness of cookies
10. Remove from the oven, transfer cookies to a rack and allow to cool for a few moments
11. Carefully place the cookies into a holiday themed box or cookie tin.
12. You can eat them, gift them, or take to one of those suburban cookie exchanges!
I love the Google. But, ever since its introduction, we’ve all probably been forced to realize the little lies and deceptions our mothers may have told us.
There are still some things that are immune to the Google. The other day, my 7-year old sous chef asked her mom: ‘What’s bigger…Google or Infinity?’
Her mom didn’t have to Google that one and she didn’t have to lie…She honestly replied: ‘Infinity’…
And, that super 7-year old didn’t miss a beat and said: ‘Well then, Mommy, I love you more than Infinity.’
I don’t know who this cookie baking chick Mary is or was…But, I do know that the cookie recipe is just part of the equation in creating the perfect Christmas cookie. The magic, intangible ingredients come from the family tradition of making the cookies, decorating the cookies, sneaking a slice of the chilled dough from the fridge as a snack. The magic is in the super sous chefs and little helpers who carry more love than infinity. Because Infinity is still bigger than Google.