Rolled Buttermilk Christmas Cookies

One of my favorite Christmas memories involves cookies. Every year what always seemed to be a giant box arrived from my grandparents. In the box, in addition to all of the presents, was a container of homemade Christmas cookies unlike any other. They were Mammaw’s buttermilk Christmas cookies with Royal icing.

I searched for years trying to find the recipe. Even now if you search for buttermilk cookies you will find many Amish buttermilk cookies, but they are not this recipe. I don’t know the history of the recipe (if anyone would like to help me out with this I would love to hear the story).

I have been making these cookies myself for many years now. Here is the recipe.

1 cup Crisco
3 cup (Light) Brown Sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1t baking soda
2t baking powder
1t salt
2t vanilla
5 – 6 cups flour, enough to roll out the cookies, not too much (Quantity of flour varies wildly upon conditions.  As little as 4 cups of flour, as many as 8).

Royal Icing
1 cup powder sugar
2T milk
food coloring

Preheat oven to 350

Mix one teaspoon baking soda in the buttermilk. Cream together Crisco and brown sugar. Add the eggs. Add the buttermilk mixture to the sugar and crisco mixture. Add the baking powder, salt, and vanilla combine until smooth. Add flour one cup at a time. Work into a soft dough.

Refrigerate dough for 4 hours.

Divide chilled dough into four sections. Roll out one section at a time. Cut with desired cookie cutters.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper for best results. Bake for about 13 min. Baking time may vary 11-15 minutes. D not over bake.

Let cookies cool completely. Once the cookies are cool mix the icing. You want to mix the powdered sugar and milk first to make a mixture that is runny enough to flow off a spoon but think enough to stay on the cookies. Once you have the icing, add the food coloring. I usually mix up 4 batches and have 4 colors for the cookies. Getting the icing on the cookies is the trick. I  have tried dipping the cookies in bowls of icing, spooning the icing onto the cookies, using frosting bottles and “piping” the icing on to the cookies. It is always kind of messy.
Powdered buttermilk works but, fresh buttermilk works better


Updated 12/6/2011 4:45pm – forgot where to add the eggs to the mixture.

Updated 12/23/2013 = Re released

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