You see, I wrote her asking where she got this recipe from, and she replied that she got it from a friend in the early 90s (we still get Christmas cards from them) and that fact I'd inadvertently run off with the Christmas cookies we've covered with fanciful (if not inept) icing decorations ever since we were kids.
½ c butter
¼ c sugar
1 tsp. almond extract (or lemon or vanilla)
Food coloring if desired
1¼ c flour
Sugar for rolling
Heat oven to 300°. Grease a cookie sheet well.
Thoroughly beat the sugar and butter (it's easier if you leave the butter out to soften all day than if you microwave it). Stir in the extract and coloring, then mix in the flour.
Roll into 1-inch balls, and roll these in sugar. Place on the cookie sheet, and give each a light tap with the measuring cup to flatten just a little bit.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until slightly golden at the edge and cooked through. Refrigerate the dough for a few hours after shaping for a more shortbread-like texture.
Every other week or so, I bake a batch of something or other to properly sanitize my tea tray. Why do I have a tea tray? Because I am immune to alarm clocks and had to order one of these:
|It's a special sort of person who has something that boils water right next to their bed while they're asleep.|
Most alarm clocks make obnoxious buzzing sounds to yank you out of your sleep, this one boils a pot of tea. Then it makes obnoxious buzzing sounds to yank you out of your sleep, but the sound of boiling water squirting into a teapot probably already woke you up anyway. An extravagance perhaps, but I'd have flunked my 8AM classes without it.
However, attempting to pour out scalding tea when you've been awake for at most four minutes is always a dicey operation which added many stains to the desk until someone abandoned this tea tray-sized pan in the kitchen. It's made cleaning a lot easier, but after a week or so, it looks like this:
And so it must be washed and sanitized! Why sanitized, you ask? Because I worry so much about whatever took up residence on a constantly-damp surface and the oven is a perfect fix. Also, as long as I'm baking the pan, why not put cookies on it? Or brownies? Or... well, it depends on the week. It's also a nice little "Congratulations, me, you survived the week!" present.
So, for this week, it's cookies! I may not have recognized it as Mom's Christmas cookie recipe since, unlike every Christmas, no food coloring was involved when I made them. Having no shame in my tight grocery budget, I skipped buying some in favor of asking Marcus to cadge some off his parents the next time he visited. I think the box may have been in the cabinets a while...
|That's the sort of woodgrain print that belongs on the side of a TV.|
And thus I decided that these cookies would be... somewhere between cyan and teal. I've dissertated previously how much I fricken love putting random coloring into desserts. Perhaps I should be all grown up now, but a birthday cake is so much better if it's bright blue. Besides, it's so magical when you put some drops of black stuff into your food...
...and it turns into pretty colors!
|Those green and blue swirls would look really cool painted on plates.|
Looking at the cookie dough, it's kind of surprising I didn't attempt to eat Play-Doh as a child.
|Who else looks at this and wants to make it into little people and then squish them?|
Even though at home Mom always does this with a cookie cutter, I went the easy route and just rolled it. I also skipped refrigerating it because patience is one of those things other people should definitely consider trying.
And... these are delicious. They're amazing. They're ridiculously easy. But you know what? My Mom still makes them better than I do.