It's that time of year again! It's baking season! As someone who grew up in the kitchen, the holidays simply wouldn't feel right without traditional holiday food. Not necessarily traditional like "figgy pudding" (I've never had that in my life), but traditional within my family (let it be noted that traditional holiday food for my family includes chili and hot tamales). The one treat that reminds me of Christmas more than any other is my great-great-grandmother's sugar cookies.
Every year, as far back as I can remember I have baked these cookies for Christmas (they're Santa's favorite). The recipe has been passed down through the generations of women on my mother's side of the family for years. Mama Little (my great-great-grandmother) passed it along to her daughter (my Mamaw), who passed it along to her daughter (my Nana), who passed it along to her daughter (my mother), who passed it along to me. Some of my earliest memories in the kitchen are of baking these with my mom and my Nana (my mom's mom). While Mama Little called them Tea Cakes, I have always called them sugar cookies.
Throughout the years we've all added our own little personal touches. Mama Little always added a few raisins to hers, which is my Nana's favorite. Nana iced hers with an orange glaze (yum!). I usually decorate mine with the Betty Crocker Recipe for vanilla butter cream.
Here is the recipe with notes added by me in parentheses!
Tea Cakes (Sugar Cookies)
2 Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
3-5 Cups Flour
Mix together sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Combine dry ingredients (salt, baking soda, baking powder, and first 3 cups of flour). Add to sugar mixture, gradually. Continue to add flour (up to 5 cups) until stiff enough to roll out. You may not need to use all the flour.
Chill dough (do this for an hour or two to make it easier to roll out). Roll and cut out on a lightly floured surface (be sure and dip your cookie cutters and rolling pin in flour to keep them from sticking to the dough!).
Bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown around edges.