ClareMom: Vintage Christmas Tree Cookies

Christmas was my mother’s favorite holiday, and she made it special, amazing, and full of memory for me every year. One memory that sticks out in my mind is making Christmas cookies with Momma, a tradition I’ve tried to keep up with my own children.
Every year, she would get out her mixer, baking pans, flour, butter, sugar, sprinkles, and cookie press. Our kitchen was small, but against one wall was a shelving unit and at the bottom was a table that lay flat against the wall, covering the shelving beneath. When it was lifted up into place, two legs would come out and make a surface for working. That’s where the cookie-making magic would happen.
To make these cookies, you will need a cookie press. It’s an old-fashioned contraption that works much like a caulking gun. The model above is from The Pampered Chef a few years ago, but you can find them online and at baking stores.
Here is the original recipe (circa 1970) from my Momma’s cookie press. It’s not easy to read, so here are my instructions (and I double the recipe):
4 sticks of butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Green food coloring
Multi-colored sprinkles
Begin by placing the sticks of butter in the bowl of a large standing mixer. If I’ve just taken them out of the refrigerator, I take the wrapping off of the butter and let it stand in the mixer for about 30 minutes. Then add granulated sugar. Cream butter and sugar together at low speed. With mixer still on, add eggs, one at a time. Once incorporated, add almond extract. To sift flour, I don’t use the old-fashioned sifter. I take a bowl, set a large fine-mesh strainer over the top and pour in my flour, salt, and baking powder. Then, I shake the flour through the strainer and discard any hard pieces that are left over. Add the flour to the butter mixture in thirds, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The final step is adding the green food coloring and mixing it through the dough. Next, I remove the bowl from the stand mixer and using an offset spatula, I mix the dough by hand to ensure that everything is incorporated. You don’t want to mix too much.
Next, fill your cookie press with dough. Choose the Christmas tree disk to extrude the dough. Then, onto ungreased cookie sheet, lay the bottom of the cookie press on the cookie sheet and pull the handle once. When you lift, you should have a perfect Christmas tree imprint in dough. Sprinkle the dough with colored sprinkles before placing in the oven. Bake cookies just until they are set, about 7 minutes and remove from oven. Allow to cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Be careful not to let the cookies burn. If they are brown around the edges, you’ve cooked them too long.
These are fun and easy cookies to make with your kids. And the best part is that they taste great. Clean-up is relatively easy, too.
Enjoy these delicious, vintage Christmas cookies, courtesy of my Momma. Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

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