As much as I look forward to the holidays, my stomach tightens and my head swirls as I think of all the social engagements, gift buying, traffic, crowds and commercialism the holiday season entails.
A few ago my mother approached me with an exciting idea. Christmas in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A Wyoming real estate agent had sent her a beautiful color photo of a “State of the Art” log cabin that was once owned by a well known actor. Firewood was piled high by the front door, and giant fir trees generously dotted the landscape. I instantly envisioned this house surrounded by fresh white snow, and my family and I snuggled inside next to a roaring fire. A hand-cut fir would be handsomely decorated with ornaments my family would have lovingly made together. Instead of mounds of packages under the tree, there would be books and games we could read and play together throughout our stay. No television, jingles or maddened crowds; just hours upon hours of the finest quality family togetherness. I couldn’t imagine a finer way to spend Christmas. Unfortunately, the price of the cabin seemed unreasonably high, and this kind of impulse would require some planning. Maybe one day, definitely someday.
For now I will get into the holiday spirit by trying to stay as close to home as possible and cooking my favorite holiday dishes.
The holidays couldn’t be without classic sugar cookie cut-outs decorated “as you like”. Here is one of my favorite recipes for such. It makes lots of cookies and the dough freezes well.
Gini Roberts Sugar Cookies
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cold water
6 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Cream butter and sugar together. Add vanilla. Set aside. Dissolve baking soda in cool water and add to butter mixture. Stir. Add flour, salt, and nutmeg. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Roll out onto a lightly-floured surface, to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Decorate with sprinkles before baking, or frost and decorate after baking.