Every year I make Shortbread cookies for Christmas, I don’t know why I only make them at Christmas because they are absolutely the best cookies of all time. I use my antique Mirro Cookie press to make them (well something terrible happened last year as I scoured the house and spent hours looking for my beloved cookie press to no avail). This summer as I was cleaning out my pantry lo and behold there it was hidden under a stack of dishcloths; well I almost cried I was so happy to find it.
I did a little research to find out how old this baby really is and as close as I could figure it came out in 1957 (I same year I was born), I guess lots of really good things happened that year!! So, I will get around to making my famous Shortbread cookies before Christmas. Well, since it was such a crappy cold Sunday afternoon yesterday I thought to myself what a wonderful day to stay inside and try one of the original recipes out of the book that came with the press – Christmas Tree Cookies.
A very simple recipe indeed (I doubled the batch) after all if you’re going to make cookies, make lots. The recipe called for shortening but I used butter (same thing in my mind). Here is the recipe doubled: 2 cups of real butter, 1 ½ cups sugar, 2 eggs, 4 ½ cups flour, ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. almond extract and green food coloring. I did not have any green left so I used three drops of blue and three drops of yellow and that worked just fine.
Just a little tip – make sure your butter is pretty soft (mine wasn’t and there was a little cursing going on under my breath as I tried to cream the butter and the sugar together). I used my kitchen aid mix master but I still had to stop and scrap the paddled way to many times because the butter just kept sticking (pain in the you know what). So anyhow, you cream the shortening (butter), adding the sugar gradually. Once it is soft and creamy you add the unbeaten eggs, the flour, salt and baking powder which you have sifted together, the almond extract and the drops of food coloring and mix very well.
Now, at this point I got a little worried because the dough looked a little too thick for my liking but I carried on. Next time I would use a little less flour. I pushed the dough into my handy dandy cookie press using the Christmas tree plate (for the shape) and started cranking the handle which pushes the dough onto the cookie sheet. As with anything the first few didn’t turn out that great but once I got the hang of it they actually stated to look little cute little Christmas trees. TIP: do not grease or flour the cookie sheet.
The recipe says you should bake them in a 375 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes, but I cooked mine for 9 minutes and they were absolutely perfect!!
With doubling the batch I ended up with (now wait for it) 148 beautiful little Christmas Tree Cookies. So I guess it is off to the Dollar Store to buy some pretty little bags, it seems lots of friends and family will be receiving a little surprise of delicious cookies this year.
I’ve tried the new plastic cookie presses but I have found there is just no comparison to my old antique Mirro – you can buy them on eBay and Amazon but you are going to have to pay quite a bit more for one. I laughed our loud when I saw the price was still on my box of $3.69 can you imagine, but I’m thinking back in 1957 that probably wasn’t that cheap. On eBay they are going anywhere between $50.00 and $75.00 bucks. Who knows maybe your grandma might have one hidden in the back of a closet somewhere. It would make a wonderful hand-me-down Christmas gift. I’m telling you I would love to have another one in my house just in case something ever happened to mine!!
They just don’t make things the way they use too!!
Merry Christmas Trees (Cookies)