Sunday, December 26, 2021

Guest @BarbRoss with Butter Cookies #recipe and #giveaway!

MADDIE here, delighted to welcome my Wicked Authors blogmate and dear friend, Barbara Ross, to the Mystery Kitchen! She has a new book out on Tuesday and a long tradition of baking with family she's going to share with all of us. Read to the end for a giveaway, too.

My Great-Grandmother’s Butter Cookies and a Giveaway


Happy holidays! Barbara Ross here to celebrate the wide release of my mystery, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door, which will be available from all retailers in mass max paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats on December 28. I’m giving away a copy to one lucky commenter below.


In retirement, Jane Darrowfield has found a clientele for her business as a professional busybody, solving problems that are not appropriate for the police, but which need outside intervention. In Madwoman Next Door, the second book in the series, Jane’s neighbor, Megan, hires her with one request, “I want you to figure out if I’m crazy.”

Jane plays bridge every Monday afternoon with her three closest friends. The game rotates among their houses and the hostess is responsible for providing snacks. The group can get a little competitive with their baking. One of the members declares they are “an eating club where a game of bridge occasionally breaks out.”

One of those competitive periods is the time around the holidays when everyone digs out their cookie recipes. I have given these butter cookies to Jane to make, but in reality, they are my grandmother’s cookies. I’m sure her mother made them, though I can’t vouch for any further back. Here’s the front of the recipe card, in my grandmother’s handwriting, as it came to me.


My mother made these every year for decades and I have documentation that I have been making them for at least thirty-five years. This is a photo of me with my son in 1986.


Here’s the recipe.

Butter Cookies

Ingredients

¾ pound butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice and rind

5 egg yolks

3 cups flour

 Directions

Mix. (As you can see from the card, the recipe just says mix. I cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and lemon, and then add the flour.)

Mold in disks the size of a saucer and place in the freezer for half an hour or in the refrigerator overnight.

Roll thin on a well-floured board. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Place them on cookie sheets. (I line the sheets with parchment paper, which my mother and grandmother would have killed to know about. They also would have killed for insulated cookie sheets.)

Decorate.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

I now have a whole new crew of helpers. Here are my granddaughters, Viola and Etta, this year. They are picking the cookie cutters they want me to use.


The recipe says only “decorate.” We use colored sugars, chocolate sprinkles, and the occasional cinnamon heart. You are meant to decorate very lightly because the flavor of the cookies is so delicate. My mother enforced this rule like a drill sergeant.


I’m into my second generation of helpers, with nieces and nephews who filled the gap between my own kids and their kids. I have found there’s no point in saying “go lightly” to children. As long as everyone has a good time.

Even Sylvie at 20 months is in on the act. Here she is with my daughter, Kate.

 

These cookies are a lot of work, but for me they are so worth it.. The dough is so short, it takes practice to learn to work with it. But I think you can tell for me it’s a labor of love.


Happiest of New Year’s to everyone at Mystery Lover’s Kitchen and all your blog readers. Thanks so much for having me.

Readers: What's your favorite cookie to make - or buy at the bakery?

Bio

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at www.maineclambakemysteries.com 

58 comments:

  1. My mom used to make the best frosted sugar cookies! Happy New Year!!

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  2. Buy fresh Chocolate Chip cookies. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Yes, definitely. I do this too as the holidays are pretty much the only time I bake cookies.

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  3. I have yet to master the best sugar cookies. These sound lovely!

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  4. My grandma’s sandtart cookies.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

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    1. Huh. We made sandtart cookies. Must see if I have a recipe!

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    2. They are tasty little pecan butter cookies coated with powdered sugar.

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  5. David's Chocolate Chunk Pecan Cookies are my favorite cookie to buy. David's is a brand name Thank you for not making me feel inferior for buying instead of making cookies. lnchudej@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Never! Believe me, aside from this and the occasional, seasonal fruit pie, I am not much of a baker.

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  6. My favorite holiday cookie has to me my Mom's cut out sugar cookie. It brings back so many wonderful memories of my brother and I spending hours decorating all the cookies. Years later I realized that Mom was not only getting the cookies decorated, but she was occupying our time during school holiday while creating a memory making moment for siblings. She succeed in both. Now that they are both in their heavenly home, I treasure the memories. For an all year round cookie, I make more of the Ozark Honey Oatmeal Cookies. I've given the recipe to lots of folks as well as given tons of cookies away - both in person and via mail. They are the best all round cookie freezing and shipping very well and the older they get the better there get too.

    Can't wait for the opportunity to read " Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door". Congratulations on its upcoming release!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. You are so right about the memories. That, much more than the cookies, is why we do this year after year. I have never heard of Ozark Honey Oatmeal cookies but they sound amazing. I hope you enjoy Jane Darrowfield.

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  7. Right now, my favorite cookie is the famous chocolate no bake drop cookie with oatmeal. It tastes like chocolate budge with a chewy bonus!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  8. I made gingerbread men this year, peanut butter blossoms and decorated chocolate chip cookies - I love baking! Looking forward to trying your recipe, as I just received some new cookie cutters for Christmas (one's a sasquatch!)

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  9. This reminds me of a very old recipe for chocolate cupcakes from my aunt. It lists the ingredients, then says Mix. Bake till done. No time. No temp. You're just supposed to know, I guess. My favorite cookies are my mom's recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Thanks for the giveaway. This is on my TBR list. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. When using my grandmother's recipes I always have to remember--her cookie sheets were a thin piece of tin, as were her pie plates. The vegetables she described as "large" were probably half as large as today.

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  10. From my side of the family,our favourite are sugar cookies. From my husband's grandmother our favourite are molasses-ginger cookies known as cookies with the cracks in them. These bring back many memories and wrap us in a warm hug. Merry Christmas

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    Replies
    1. I make molasses ginger cookies, too. My grandmother always sent them to camp and to college dorms encased in a coffee can.

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  11. My favorite are Anginetti. They care know by various names but they are the Italian lemon cookies. My family didn't bake them but we were blessed to know many ladies who did and would share them with us.

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  12. What good work decorating cookies!

    Merry Christmas!

    I love all cookies, but homemade is usually better, especially if store-bought means that the cookies come in a bag or tray from a food-industrial-complex megacorporation!

    jsmith[delete brackets]3may[delete brackets]2011

    [at symbol]

    yahoo[dot]com

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  13. I love cookies, they are my favorite dessert!! Molasses Spice and Sugar Cookies are my very favorites but, in truth, I like them all!!
    sharonquiltsatyahoodotcom

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    Replies
    1. We used to call my father, "The Cookie Monster."

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  14. My dream cookie is one I had at a ski resort. They were shortbread like cookies with a generous hunk of chocolate baked into the middle.
    I keep trying to replicate them, but so far I haven't succeeded.
    Or is it my memory that is leading me astray?
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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  15. Such an interesting sensation. My husband chased around the internet trying to find his mother's brownie recipe. We think he finally did find it.

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  16. My favorite Christmas cookie is a walnut sugar cookie that my Mom used to make. My Sister and I try to make them every Christmas.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Thank you for the recipe. I have some really old cookie recipes from my husbands great grandmother that we still use today. Thank you for the give a way. I read the one where she goes to a retired home and absolutely loved it. Funny, as I get older, I am loving books with older people.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody.

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  18. I make cut out cookies and decorate with buttercream. They remind me of my grandmas cookies.
    bmedrano34@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. I have never decorated cookies with buttercream. Must try it some time.

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  19. Cranberry orange cookies. So good.

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  20. My husband's favorite are good old magic bars and since baking them is a no-brainer, I'm happy to make them for him.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I know what magic bars are. I have never been a bar maker, but my sister-in-law is a master.

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    2. Virginia, you are the winner of Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door. Contact me a barbaraross@maineclambakemysteries.com

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  21. These are very similar to the ones my grandmother made--the best cookies EVER! (Because c'mon...butter!) Yum!

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  22. My best friend just gifted me 4 of these cookies!!! Wonderful!!
    lindalou64@live(dot)com

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  23. Try to make them as in try to find the time, or try to make them taste the same as your mother's?

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  24. I like to make persimmon cookies.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  25. A recipe for cookies and cream cookies I discovered a few years ago has made it into being an annual family favorite. cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. I have never put my own signature on the cookies.

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  26. Cut out sugar cookies with frosting and we decorate. I made several batches with my kids this Christmas. Thanks for the chance!

    jarjm1980(at)hotmail(dot)com

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