Christmas Butter Cookies

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.


1/2 pound of butter, softened to room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

2 1/2 cups flour…… may need a little more

1 tsp baking powder

green and red sprinkles ( colored sugar)

  1.  Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Add egg, salt, and vanilla
  3. Add flour and baking powder and mix well.  Incorporate all the flour.
  4. Load up your Super Shooter Cookie Press and go to town.
  5. Sprinkle with the colored sugar.
  6. Bake at 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until very lightly browned.


Butter CookiesImageImageImageImageImageImage

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.

8 thoughts on “Christmas Butter Cookies

  1. Bev is my first cousin and Anne was my beloved aunt. Bev sent these to me because my husband and I want to go back to MY FOOD and I want to cook like my aunt and my cousin:)


  2. Both our daughters are friends and directed me to your site! Now that the Holidays are approaching I checked out your Italian Holiday Cookie recipe. I have a variation of that same recipe except we color the dough half red other half green, lay each side by side to form one log. Cool slice and glaze with white icing, then slice. They taste like a soft once baked biscotti. This recipe was shared with me by one of my dear Northern Italian blond haired blue eyed girlfriends whose Grandmother was hesitant to give out this recipe until she found out she would share it with her brown eyed brown hair Scicilian girlfriend! Not a Christmas has gone by without these cookies on our table and each year I am reminded of our wonderful friendships and the strong women who came before us! Definitely Italian!!! Tami Santiago


  3. Yes you do! I have been making that recipe with you and your brother since 1986, every Halloween and/or Thanksgiving. I am so happy that you now make it for your little boy.

    I will post the recipe in the next few weeks, or feel free to do so yourself.


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