Annie and I met randomly when I stumbled upon her post for After Eight cupcakes, and explained to her where the “After Eight” comes from. (It’s the brand name of a mint chocolate candy in the UK) We became fast friends via google chat, and I can honestly tell you she is one of the most gifted photographers I’ve ever met. She also happens to be smokin’ hot and wickedly funny. I hope that you’ll visit With Sprinkles On Top to see all of her fabulous baking. – Amber
“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.” — Rudolph Giuliani
My name is Annie and I run With Sprinkles On Top. Amber’s grandmother passed away last week and she asked me to contribute a guest post to her blog. I only had to think for about 0.2 seconds before I knew what to bake: my grandmother’s cut-out cookies. As the wise quote from Rudy Giuliani states above, grandmothers provide more than just love and support — they usually provide delicious food to go along with it.
When I heard about Amber’s Nanny passing away, I couldn’t help but think about my own grandmother. My Omi passed away last November. I would give just about anything to be able to return to my childhood — to my grandparents’ house, which was always filled with the scents of good food and warm feelings of love. My grandma used to make hundreds of cookies every Christmas. Her classic and staple recipe was her cut-out cookie recipe. The cookies are a typical sugar cookie — but with a touch of nutmeg. The nutmeg gives the cookies a unique flavor and sets them apart from everyone else’s holiday cookies.
Every now and then I make my grandmother’s cookie recipe. My apartment fills with the familiar scent of these cookies and I always think about my Omi and how much I miss her. I sifted through my bin of cookie cutters and tried to find inspiration for the cookies in today’s post. I found my balloon cookie cutter and immediately thought of the movie “Up”. The movie, in short, is about an elderly widower named Carl who flies to South America (in a floating house) with a little boy named Russell. The story, specifically the pieces about the love between Carl and his late wife Ellie, is heartbreakingly poignant. I thought it was fitting to make these cookies as a representation of Carl’s house, floating up to the sky and filled with his memories.
Amber, I love you dearly and I’m thinking about you as you grieve for your beloved Nanny. And because you know how I much I love quotations, I’m going to end this post just as it started — with a quote.
“Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, “nostalgia” literally means “the pain from an old wound.” It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the carousel. It let’s us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.” — Don Draper, Mad Men
Omi’s Sugar Cookies
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon nutmeg
Beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients gradually. Chill the batter overnight or for at least 4 hours. Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350F until golden (in true fashion, my grandma didn’t give a specific baking time. I baked the cookies for about 9 minutes).
2 tablespoons shortening
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons scalded milk
3 cups (or more) powdered sugar
Beat all ingredients together besides the powdered sugar. Gradually add the powdered sugar until you get a smooth and creamy consistency.