How to Apologize to your Grandma and Bake Sugar Cookies..

The kitchen was filled with laughter, stories and flour.  Flour covered our hair, the walls, counters and floors.  The girls made little finger tracks in the mess – tracing pictures, words and tiny roads.  Each drawing they made was etched into my memory forever.


December 11th was my grandma’s birthday. She would have been 83 this year.  We now bake our annual holiday cut-out cookies on her birthday each year.  We mix and roll and cut and bake while I tell them stories on their Great-Grandmother.  How she gave the best hugs, had the best laugh and always had gum.

The recipe we used each year was from her family – from her sister Joyce.  I always though she made the best cut-out cookies that were perfectly decorated…and they were passed on to my Aunt Sandy – who perfected them.
And each year, we have made these – and to be honest, I could never do it right.  It wasn’t the same as eating them at Great-Aunt Joyce’s home, or at our holiday’s spent at Aunt Sandy’s.

But I made them anyway, because I felt I should.  We had a ball baking them – but they would sit mostly uneaten until I threw them away a week later.

On the morning of December 11th I took a deep breath, opened a cookbook, first glanced up to heaven and said “Gram – happy birthday – I love you and miss you and would do just about anything to hear your laughter right about now. You are missing the first snowstorm of the century, we are baking cookies, and the holidays are upon us.  You are missed.  You should be here”

But then I said “I have to tell you that either I suck at baking our family cookies or the recipe is wrong and I just cannot waste them anymore and as much as I love you, I cannot bake those cookies again.”

And I didn’t.  And I would like to think she forgave me as I create my own traditions.  Because what we did bake mixed, rolled and cut like a dream.  The glaze was perfect – tasty and firm, yet easy to use.  And the TASTE – somehow 5 dozen cookies disappeared in 2 days.

As the last cookies dried, I boxed them up carefully, maybe eating just one more star as it didn’t quite fit right, and thought of my Grandmother and her traditions. If I closed my eyes tight, I could see her and her 7 young children baking pies and cookies at Christmas.  I pictured the flour all over the table and floors, and little girls noses.  Little girls running their fingers through the mess, writing their names in cursive..fighting over licking the bowl. The dough was always a bigger reward than the finished cookies.
Because no matter the taste of the cookie, the touch of your family at Christmas is what you remember year after year, and what stays with you to pass on to your children.


Sugar Cut-out Cookies from my Aunt Debbie(these were so easy, yummy and baked up perfectly)

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 T water

1 t soda

1 t vanilla

pinch of salt

3 1/2 cup flour

Cream butter and sugar  – add the rest of ingredients and mix well. Chill. Roll, cut and bake at 350 8-10 minutes.

Perfect glaze(adapted from an allrecipe’s recipe that I tweaked a bit) – amazing flavor, shiny glaze that was easy to work with and dried perfectly

1 cup powdered sugar

3 t milk (plus or minus based upon the consistency you want)

2 t lt corn syrup

1/4 t almond extract

food coloring as desired.

Sweet Shot Day

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    Beautiful, beautiful, Be-U-Tiful post, Tracy! I can feel the warmth of your kitchen, hear the giggles & laughter, feel the soft flour running under fingers…and it all evokes such a sense of joy, peace, family & Christmas! Thanks for sharing your beautiful tradition & also a new recipe, I think traditions are made for tweaking, as long as the spirit is there & you seem to have captured that perfectly!
    Merry Christmas & now I’m hungry for some sugar cookies!
    Melanie H. recently posted..Lets Get This Party Started!

  2. says

    Fantastic post! Such wonderful memories of your grandma, but she will be happy that you make different kind of memories with your family. Thanks for the recipe as well, I can’t wait to try it.
    Jenny F recently posted..A Winters Morning

  3. robyn shirley says

    i loved reading every syllable. it psyches me up even more to do our cookies next week! and kudos for having the guts to let that oilily get worn in the cookie making! i guess i have no excuse. hugs.

  4. says

    There are so many things I miss about Christmas in Bemidji, and one of them is our annual cookie baking with my mom and sis. Something about flour and sugar just brings people together! Loved this post Tracy, thanks for sharing.
    maybaby recently music for you!

  5. Larissa Warne says

    Okay–now I feel REALLY bad for blowing up at my daughter yesterday while we were baking cookies. She started out grumpy, I was becoming grumpy, and then the dog ate half a cookie pan of raw cookie dough and Hershey’s chocolate! I had had enough–and I blew my stack. I guess the only saving grace was that the dog did not throw up or have diarrhea on my new carpet!

  6. says

    Oh my it looks like they are having fun! I remember well baking with my Mother. Unfortunately baking never took:) I think it skipped a generation!

  7. says

    I have read this post multiple times, and I haven’t known what I wanted to say. Then I saw this on Facebook and knew I had to share:

    Miss Eudora Welty said, “… to make a friend’s recipe is to celebrate her once more, and in that cheeriest, most aromatic of places to celebrate in, the home kitchen.”

  8. says

    Oh Tif – I love that!

    Mom – yeah, I have no idea why you never could bake – but it has always made for great stories!

    Larissa – Believe me, I have had my fair share of break-down moments in the kitchen with my kids…

    Maybaby – Esther keeps asking when you are going to bake cookies with her

    Robyn – Yeah, the Oilily – seriously I have become so relaxed of late and now every outfit is a “let’s wear it and do whatever in it as much as we can!”

    Melanie – I love what you said. It is so heartwarming.
    tracy recently posted..How to Apologize to your Grandma and Bake Sugar Cookies