I woke up feeling a chill in the air and burrowed down a little deeper into the covers to hide a little longer from the day. Then I smelled the coffee and decided to tear myself away from the comfort of my bed. The living room curtains were drawn open and Norm said, “Look.”

Jack Frost had paid Louisiana a visit while Mr. Sand Man was doing his work on our eyes.

When Father Time – that dastardly rogue – steals my minutes, I have no fear. My trusty friend Tradition comes to the rescue and restores – albeit temporarily – my innocence, my childhood, my blind faith in peace on Earth. No need for words at a time like this. Frost on the landscape implies that it’s time to make Christmas cookies.

I pick up the phone. “Jillian!”

“I know, Mom. We’re baking today!”

Here is our Christmas cookie tradition:

Traditional Roll-Out Cookies

Roll-Out Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar at medium speed in a large bowl. Mix in egg and vanilla. Blend in baking powder, then flour, one cup at a time. Divide dough into two balls.

Roll the first ball onto a floured surface until cookies measure 1/8 inch in thickness.

Roll-Out Cookies (3)

Cut with cookie cutters into various shapes. Repeat with the second ball of dough.

Roll-Out Cookies (5)

Bake 6-7 minutes. Cookies will not expand nor rise very much. They should still be white with a bit of golden brown around the edges.

Remove from pan with a spatula and cool on a cookie rack or large platter.

Roll-Out Cookies (6)

Now for the fun part – decorating them!

Royal Icing

Yield: 4 cups icing

  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 10-12 tablespoons water

Mix meringue powder and powdered sugar. Add a few tablespoons of water at a time until icing reaches spreading consistency. If you are going to pipe your icing onto your cookies, make the icing a little thinner by adding more water.

Spread the icing on the cookies and decorate with candy, sugar, and whatever else your heart desires!

Roll-Out Cookies

Tell me, Gentle Readers, what are some of your Christmas traditions?