Just before it struck midnight (and became MY BIRTHDAY!!!) I was making three batches of Granny Kelly's cookie dough. My mother's mother-Granny Kelly- must have learned the recipe from her mama. All my life, every Christmas my family gathers and we make Granny's cookies. We roll them out. Pick out our favorite cookie cutters (I am partial to the scotty dog and the bunny). Cut them out. Bake them. Sneak a few while they are warm. And when they have cooled, we whip up some butter cream frosting (never royal icing) and tint it whatever colors we want. Cover the table with waxed paper. Put out every sort of sprinkle, colored icing sugar, silver dragees, cinnamon red hots, bowls of frosting and get down to business. It can take hours. The youngest decorators sometime lose interest and wander off only to be drawn back to the table because it is covered in delicious sweet stuff.
Tomorrow after school my nieces will come and we will start the process. Then their parents, my little brother and sister-in-law, will show up, followed by my daughter and her sweetheart. My son will be working but he will be home in time to eat many a cookie. And a birthday party of my favorite sort will ensue.
Down in Reno my littlest brother and his family will be making Granny's cookies this weekend too. I suspect my mother, who is spending the winter warming up in her desert home, will make a batch to give to holiday visitors.
We will all be together in spirit,gathered around the kitchen table, feeling lucky, remembering our Granny and Poppa and all the love that flows through us generation after generation.
Granny's Cookiesfrom the kitchen of Florence Kelly to the kitchen of her daughter and grandchildren, and now her great grandchildren
1 Cup Shortening
4 Cups Flour
1/2 t Salt
2 Eggs beaten
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Milk
1 t Vanilla
1 t Baking Soda
Sift flour and salt together. Cut in shortening (I use my cuisinart sometimes, sometimes a fork or pastry cutter). In a separate bowl combine the eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, and baking soda. Add in flour/shortening mixture until just combined. Don't beat up the dough. Cover and chill overnight in the fridge. When it is time to bake, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out with cookie cutters befitting the holiday (I make them sometimes for Valentine's Day and Keenan's Day too!). Bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
When cookies are cooled (after you've had pizza and salad and sung a round of happy birthday to me) frost and decorate. We make the frosting with varying amounts of butter, powdered sugar, milk or cream, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Use a recipe you love and don't make it too thin because that is just mean.
As I will be making these later today (after I sleep) I don't have a picture to show you. Wait! I think I have an example from my son's birthday party 2 years ago. He decided he would rather have Granny's cookies than a birthday cake. Let me look.........
There they are. His auntie made a portrait of him being grumpy. His cousins have always called him "deeda". He isn't always grumpy. You can see we are very fond of sprinkles.