We had the perfect December weekend. We spent it with darling people, doing Christmas things, listening to musica and baking cookies.
This is the tree cookie that my niece Eliza made.
I made butter cookie dough before they came and had it chilled and waiting in the fridge. (I’ll put the recipe at the bottom!)
So all we had to do was roll it out.
And cut out dough boys, birds, hearts, and trees.
That’s Eliza, age 7 on the left, and her sister Maggie, age 4 on the right.
While the cookies baked, I made Royal Icing . . . this icing, in case you’re not familiar with it, gives the candies something to stick to; the frosting hardens when it dries, which means your decorated cookies can be stacked. If you break a cookie, this is the thing that glues it back together, it’s also what holds the walls of gingerbread houses; it’s powerful stuff.
Quick recipe . . . it’s 1½ c. powdered sugar to one egg white. Put both in large bowl and beat 10 to 15 min. with electric mixer until soft peaks form (I tripled this recipe). Put scoops of the white frosting in different bowls, and color each with food coloring. Be sure to keep one of the bowls white. (Yes, you can make this with egg white powder if you prefer, it’s a tiny bit less sticky, but it works.)
The girls made light blue, pale yellow, mint green, and pink.
We made batch after batch, they did a wonderful job!
The girls told us a joke: Here it is: Knock-Knock. Who’s there? Interrupting starfish. As the other person begins to repeat back “Interrupting starfish who? — before they get out one syllable a small hand, fingers spread in starfish fashion, like the speed of light, clamps over your mouth, and face. Because it’s an interrupting starfish! Try it, we thought it was SO funny and laughed for hours, doing it over and over to each other. Family humor, always the best, always the silliest!
Maggie’s heart cookie. Love matters, joy matters, cookies matter!
We had cocoa and pancakes with maple syrup, apples and pears, lobsters and oysters; they decorated the tree in front of our house, walked on the beach in Menemsha, did an island tour to Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, opened presents under the tree. And then it was time to take them back to the boat. Boo Hoo Hoo.
If this is the future, if the way the parents of these two girls interact with their children is the way of the future, we are in safe hands. ♥
We didn’t want them to leave, but they even made that fun! Off they go, wearing skirts from Aunt Sue and Uncle Joe!
Before they left, the girl’s parents, Corey and Jessica, swooped through our house and hooked us up to streaming Netflix and Pandora radio. THANK YOU!!!! That’s all I can say. I love how they just seem to KNOW what they are doing. All you “kids” out there, you don’t need to spend a penny on gifts, just go hook up a baby boomer. ♥ We will love you!! (I mean, more!) What a wonderful gift that was! The children left behind lovely refrigerator art, Christmas cookies, and echoes of joyous laughter. Our house is infinitely more blessed. ♥
We’ll give this to Eliza when she turns 21 — could probably give her the cookies too, they are waaaay too cute to eat!!!
ANNIE HALL’S BUTTER COOKIES
You can color half the dough to twist into candy canes; roll it out for cookie-cutters; drop and powder sugar them, and they taste fabulous! The best butter cookie EVER!
- 2 c. butter, softened
- 1 ½ c. sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 4½ c. unbleached flour, sifted
- ½ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350°. With an electric mixer (the hand-held kind is fine), cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks & vanilla; mix well. Sift flour (see How to Sift Flour) and salt together & beat into butter mixture until well mixed. When ready to bake, place cookies 1″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 min; but do not brown them. Remove cookies from pans while still warm, cool on waxed paper. Decorate!
With Love from the Heart of the Home and me, Joe, Jessica, Corey, Eliza and Maggie xoxo