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Picture the Holidays - December 10

Today's prompt was: Twinkle, Twinkle

I was not crazy about the shots I took of the tree/lights. It just wasn't working. I am too jittery to take pictures without a tripod and these two little criminals are just not tripod friendly.

Instead I took some macro shots of the sparkling sugar on the top of the sugar cookies the children and I made today.

This is a really old family recipe. We aren't even sure how old. We know that my great-grandmother, the lovely Irish lass, called Ma by her children and pretty much everyone else, remembered her mother Maria (pronounced Mariah), making them when she was young.

Ma was spunky, but sweet. She was born in 1888 in the tiny town on Dushore, Pennsylvania. She passed away in 1970.

It would thrill her to no end to see her great great-granddaughter and great great-grandson "helping" me make these cookies.

I don't have clear memories of Ma, but I do have very clear memories of my own grandmother (her oldest daughter) making these cookies. The smell of the nutmeg and the buttermilk takes me to another place and time.

It makes me wonder about these women. How things have changed since they were alive and baking these cookies.

1888 seems like a million years ago.

Today as I stood at the sink washing dishes, I thought of an only daughter who went on to get married and have eight robust children. She had morning sickness every single day of every single one of her EIGHT pregnancies!

Can you imagine?

Ma was tough, but had the softest skin you have ever felt. She loved flowers. She only cooked using a coal stove. Her children, in an attempt to ease Ma's burden, bought her an electric stove. Ma stored candy and pots and pans in it. She never used it. I don't think she ever trusted it.

Funny to think of that, of all things, as technology that she refused to utilize.

Now here I am, typing a blog on a machine that Ma never could have imagined in her wildest dreams.

It is funny to me that her recipe endures, her mother's recipe endures while everything else has changed so much.

Maria McGee's Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortening (I used unsalted butter)
2 cups sugar (I used extra fine Baker's sugar)
2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

5 cups flour to roll soft
1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

In a mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mix until incorporated. Add vanilla and mix well.

Alternate adding buttermilk and flour mixture, ending with the flour mixture until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

You may need to add more flour to make the dough firm enough to roll and cut out with cookie cutters.

I used a scoop and made 1 inch balls, rolled them in sparkling sugars and jimmies (red and white). I am super lazy and wanted the Criminals to help, so I chose to scoop these instead. But you use either method.

I am not here to judge.

If you use the drop method, bake them at 400° for 10 minutes.

If you roll them out bake them at 375° for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them though. As soon as you start to see a little golden brown goodness showing around the bottom edges, take them out and bask in the fresh-baked smells around your kitchen.

Here is a picture of Ma and Pop. 

See that twinkle in her eye? 

Isn't she adorable?

Ma's Wine Drops

A Tall Tale of Legos