Somewhere around 1960, my mom met a wonderful woman, who was the mother of my soon to be best friend. I was 9 years old at the time, and we are still great friends to this day. My Mom and Anne (last name to remain anonymous) both loved cooking and St. Jude. They were constantly in the kitchen cooking and sharing recipes….unless it was Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00 PM, when they were at the St Jude Novena in a small church not far from our home. Anne was a second mother to me, and both she and my mom are responsible for my love of cooking, recipes and cookbooks. When I look through my mom’s folder of worn and stained recipes, Anne’s name is on many. It is hard to distinguish, and remember, exactly whose recipe it was originally. So I beg forgiveness from my dear friend, if I am claiming her mom’s recipes as my own mom’s. Like that Apple Crisp recipe…was Anne on the other end of the phone, telling my mom the ingredients that she wrote down on that pharmaceutical pad? Maybe. Either way, these two gals could cook, bake and pray like nobodies business! Now there’s an idea for a book…”Cook, Bake, Pray.” Please don’t steal my idea anyone. You needed to know Tess and Anne in order to this title justice.
Anyway, I have sifted through countless cookie recipes, as well as recipes for “ribbons”, “pizza dolce,” and I am not exactly sure in what kitchen the recipe actually began, but I do know that all these Christmas cookie recipes have been made every December for the last 50+ years in my family, as well as Anne’s, and in many others, whose lives these two ladies touched.
So let me begin with Tess’s ( or maybe Anne’s) Butter Cookies.
You can see from the original recipe that this is indeed ancient. My earliest recollection of making these cookies at Christmas time is with my sister and I pressing out this dough from a manual, cookie press that had different cookie attachments, ranging from Christmas trees to angels. We would wait anxiously for the day that mom would pick for us to help her with these cookies. It was a family ritual that I also began with my children. They could not wait t throw the sprinkles on before placing the cookies in the oven. As my mom got older, my sister and her daughter would join me and my daughter at my mom’s house each December to carry on this tradition, as well as the many other recipes. Now I am delighted to make this recipe with my grandchildren. We now use a Super Shooter, which is tons of fun, and they, too love to toss the sprinkles on the cookies. I guess making Christmas cookies is timeless. Certainly my memories of all the special women, who have left their mark on my life through these cookie recipes, are forever. I can look at the recipes and remember how much I admired them all, and could not wait to have a family of my own to create new memories within my own kitchen. I hope to share as many of these as I can with you during this Holiday Season. But heck, who says it has to be Christmas time to make Christmas cookies?! I might just continue into January and February! Maybe start a new tradition.
If you have a cookie recipe to share, please post it on Comments. Stories are also always welcome.