Sunday, December 19, 2010


One of my childhood best friend's mother baked a different cookie every day of December. The Braithwaite's home smelled like Christmas and I still admire Mrs. B and her cookie making skills. I'm not much of a baker. Give me a boxed brownie mix and I'll doctor it up with flax seeds and pecans but that is the extent of my creative baking. When E. and I went to help clean out his grandmother's home in New Jersey we found this fabulous cookie press. I had to find a way to bake this month and use this traditional tool.

The press had all of these treasures hidden inside. 

I went to the Cross Keys Williams-Sonoma to pick up a few essentials. Two insulated cookie sheets.  It's so important to have two sheets going to save time.

I also found some pink and green sanding sugar.

I pulled out my vintage Christmas apron to get in the spirit.

Then I had to search for a recipe. I choose this one from Martha Stewart. 

The recipe calls for three sticks of butter!

Sifted flour. 

I wish I could show you how my mom taught me how to separate egg yokes. You basically use your hands. I find the yokes break if you try to separate them in the shells.

The batter is pretty thick. I wasn't sure it was going to work.

I love all of the different disks that fit in the press.

E. remembers pressing the cookies with his grandmother, Jessie.

You fill up the press with cookie dough.

Select the right disk. I put it on the wrong side. It needs to go on the inside so the dough won't squeeze out.

This is my clueless first attempt. I literally thought, "Huh, how do these squiggly lines become cookies?"

Then I switched the disk and put it in the correct spot. This shape turned into a little flower.

This was my first attempt at pressing the cookies. It was close but this one was too squished.

But then I got the hang of it. You have to place the press on the cookie sheet and crank twice, or the same amount of times for each cookie. I was so psyched! These darling little butter cookies were so easy and the uniformity was awesome.

The Christmas trees were pretty awesome.

Dust the sanding sugar on the cookies before they go in the oven.

The cookies take about 7 minutes to bake.

They are crunchy and reminded me a little bit of Girl Scout shortbread cookies. 

This was a little butterfly. I wish it wasn't 10:00 pm when I was in the groove. I really wanted to try the camel shape but was exhausted. It was a great week. I love this time of year and the fact we got six Christmas cards in the mail in one day made me so happy.

Our office did a cookie exchange last week too. I missed it by a few days but I love the idea. Everyone makes 48 cookies or so and packages about 5 cookies per bag for the 11 participating bakers. 

One colleague had cute ribbons with her family name on them.

Then everyone got to take an assortment of cookies home.

Our home finally smelled like the Braithwaites this week. I handed out my cookies to my office mates, just a few days late. They were sweet enough to share even though I missed the deadline.

Thank you wonderful mother-in-law Jean for letting us have sweet Jessie's cookie press! E. came home to me singing in the kitchen and creating our own new traditions. It was a highlight of the season. Thanks to Marisa for our fabulous cookie platter too from last years Turkey Jam! And thanks Sheila for always being so joyful at the office and organizing the cookie exchange! 


Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

Oh, you are so good! You would laugh if you saw our silly attempt at making cookies last night. First, we just bought ready-made dough (next year I will make it from scratch). We were like, "um, do we put the sprinkles on before or after they bake?"...I couldn't find the cookie cutters I had just bought. It was a joke. Surprisingly, they turned out both cute and yummy.

annechovie said...

Very cool to use the vintage cookie press. Your cookies turned out great, Nelle. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I have a cookie press and I LOVE it! I am glad you love yours, too!

Nelle Somerville said...

Tiffany, it was a riot. I was so clueless but glad I gave it the ole college try.

Anne, your print came yesterday and I LOVE IT. Thanks so much. Merry Christmas to you too!

Wendy, looking forward to photos of your cookies. ;)

Shannon said...

well, Mrs. B is still at it! She and Dad arrive on Tuesday HOPEFULLY with cookies in hand. Carrying on the tradition is much more difficult at alititude, but I am working on it. Eamonn and I broke out the cookie press today, as well, with varied success and I am trying again as we speak.
Merry Christmas, thank you for the memories of home, love you.

Pigtown-Design said...

i can attest to the fabulousness of the cookies! YUM!

Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

Nelle - I linked to you today just to let you know :) xoxo

Preppy Little Dress said...

Fabulous, looks like a lot of fun!