Winter Homes

Memories of Christmas Past

Rather than list my favorite Christmas cookies for Carole's ToT, I'm going to take you on a little walk down memory lane. 

My Mom loved to bake and she was quite proficient with doughy things. Her cinnamon rolls were beyond compare. Oh my, how I loved the yeasty, sugary, nutty (with raisins, too) gooey goodness of them. She made wonderful pies (all year round with every kind of filling you can imagine), but my favorite (her favorite, too) was lemon meringue.

My first Christmas

Halloween and Christmas were the two holidays that sent her into a kitchen frenzy of baking and candy making. She made popcorn balls (the best ever), divinity (pink and white/with nuts), fudge, with and without nuts, and her pièce de résistance, peanut brittle!! THE best ever peanut brittle (with coconut too). To make thin and crunchy pieces she would pour it hot off the stove onto a marble slab and pull it with her fingers. The little shards would melt in your mouth! It was just THE BEST EVER.

My second Christmas

The one thing we were allowed to help her make were her highly successful and totally sought out be all the neighborhood kids, was her sugar cookies. We would carefully measure the ingredients and make sure we did every step correctly. The trick to remember how many cups of flour we'd used (it's hard to keep track of 7 cups of flour), was for everyone in the room count out-loud as each cup went in. The cookie dough had to be refrigerated for hours, so we often made it the night before. (The we in this story is my Mom, me and one or two of my sisters.)

My 6th Christmas

Baking day meant hours of rolling out the dough to just the right thickness, cutting the dough with various cookie cutters, and carefully putting the shapes on the baking trays. The art to this cookie is not to over bake and Mom could tell, just by smell, the second they were cooked to perfection. We would then carefully lift the cookies from the trays and put them onto cooking racks.

Once cooled we could decorate. Mom made an icing with confectioners sugar and from there she would let us decorate as we liked. We could use gumdrops, red hots, sugar sprinkles, licorice, or tiny silver balls. Mom would also pipe the edges of a few cookies and everything looked festive and wonderful! I wish I had pictures to share, but that is not to be.  However, I do have her recipe, a recipe made to be easily rolled, as well as fluffy light and soft creations.

My sister and me (I'm on the right).

Mom's Best Sugar Cookies

1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, room temp.
3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temp.
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
7 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings, mixing well.

In a separate bowl mix baking powder and salt with flour, then scoop flour mixture into mixing bowl with wet ingredients one cup at a time. Do not over mix. Finish by hand if needed.

Chill dough a minimum of 2 hours before using. On a floured surface roll chilled dough to a ¼” thickness and cut immediately with cookie cutters.

Bake at 350ºF for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will look under-baked when actually done. Do not let them brown on the edges. 

When I was a kid we didn't have parchment paper, but you might find it keeps the cookie from sticking. Also, if you don't want to ice the cookies, you can sprinkle them with a little sugar before baking. This cookie is best with a glaze or with icing as it needs the added sweetness. Enjoy!


Wonderful memories! I know you could taste them as you wrote the post.

Oh, Margene! Thanks so much for sharing . . . your memories, your recipe, your Christmases past. Such a lovely post -- and bursting with love!

Your memories are wonderful, thanks for sharing them and your pictures, too. I'm going to try your mom's recipe for sugar cookies!

What a treasure!! First, thanks for sharing that wonderful memory of your terrific Mom. Thank you for sharing her recipe with us. I think we grew up in a special era for children. And, what kind of doll are you sitting next to? When I was 5 I got a Revlon doll and she looked almost exactly like your doll except she had dark hair!! Hugs, Sweet One!

What a lovely post, thank you.

Thanks for sharing your lovely memories of baking with your mom. :)

What great pictures. Thanks for sharing - you have wonderful Christmas memories!

I loved all the photos, especially the one of your first Christmas. Was the tree in the bedroom or did your family live in a one room apartment? There must be a story about that photo. From the looks of all the toys under the tree, I assume you were a very good girl that year. :)

That was such a lovely post. I really enjoyed all the pictures. I'm a sucker for old family photos.

The photos in your post reminded me of my own childhood. What kind of doll is in the chair with you? it looks familiar.

Look how cute you were!

Oh lovely!! Thank you. ;)

My maternal grandmother was a fabulous cook and baker, but neither my mother or I have that gene. Neither one of us has any kind of success with anything involving a rolling pin, so when we made sugar cookies, we used a recipe that had you roll the raw dough into a little ball, place it on the baking sheet, and then smash it flat with a glass dipped in sugar. They were wonderfully sweet, and at Christmas, my mom would get all fancy and buy red and green sugar to dip the glass in.

What a wonderful post Margene! You've brought back memories of my Nana - the best baker ever - and her lemon meringue pie. What I wouldn't do for another slice of that. I'm going to give your Mom's recipe a try too!

Fabulous post and photos! Thanks for the recipe!!

Your Mom's sugar cookie recipe looks great and your photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing these lovely memories!

Oh my, this post brought back so many childhood memories. And those cookies sound much like my mom's sugar cookies which were labelled 'Mom's Sugar Cookies', meaning they were grandmother's. Soft, tender and never, ever baking till they were brown. I'd whip some up just now, if I wasn't afraid of umpty-dozen of those delights in my house. Thank you for such a marvelous memory-filled post.

Thanks for this post! I have great memories of my ace-baker mom making dozens and dozens of fabulous Christmas cookies. It was always so thrilling when we were actually allowed to eat them after the days and days of baking. Candy Canes, Christmas Trees, Lemon Coconut Drops, Orange Refrigerator Cookies and so many more. One year we made chocolate cookie-press camels with silver ball eyes. The most delicious were Kupfel, the rolled crescent-shaped jam-filled cookies that she had learned from her mother. Even though she passed the recipe on to all of us, it is only my sister Trish who seems to be able to recreate the magic:)

It's like we had the same mom! My favorite pie is Lemon Meringue as well and I would ask for it instead of cake for my birthday sometimes. That and her pound cake, which is beyond compare, I've never had any like it. She made so many cookies and so much fudge for the holidays and would store it all in containers in the garage where we supposed to leave them, not eat! We spent a lot of time sneaking cookies. She still makes so many of them, along with that bread with the dried fruit in it, I love that! Loved. I won't be baking this year, I've decided finally that the cheat isn't really worth it. Makes me sad.....Time to search for things I can eat.

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