Maw Maw’s Butter Cookies

Doesn’t your mouth just water, looking at Christmas cookies??

There’s just something about celebrating connection and cultural diversity despite living in a busy world distracted by technology. As you can tell by now I am “that” daughter who wasn’t “the best” in the kitchen.  Capture the cooking stories of the “Maw Maw” and the stories behind the recipes have inspired a whole new generation of Buttered Cookie “cookieteers”.

She gets quite excited telling us all about “how to master the butter cookie recipe”. But I warn those who get in her way in the kitchen … please make note, DO NOT MESS WITH THE COOK! Sarcasm is definitely welcome. Have you ever crossed paths with an angry Italian with a rolling pin? Kidding aside … here we go!

If you’ve ever been around my Mother this time of year (or any Holiday for that matter)  ask her to sample some of those world famous Butter Cookies. I just found out they are actually not handed down from my own grandmother, but from Evie’s grandmother. You see these cookies are known to our family as Aunt Kathy’s Butter Cookies. The cookie recipe is actually a “German” recipe from Evie Schnieder’s Mother. These cookies have been a family favorite for years.  I finally decided to log some of Mom’s favorite recipes  so we will have them for many years to come.  Remember friends the recipe will take some fine tuning as it was improvised with a little pinch of this, “a sort of spoonful” of that, a whole lot of love and sentimental southern pride.

sam and maw maw

Here you go “passed on and made with love from one generation to the next”:

Single Batch

1 Cup unsalted soft butter  (2 sticks)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 egg

Stir in:

3 tsp. flavoring (vanilla)

Sift together …stir in

3 Cups Sifted flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Bake at 400 degrees 5-7 minutes

Chill Dough

Roll 1/8 thick cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until delicately brown edges

Reminder Temp 400 @ 5-7 minutes

Icing consists of Confectioner’s Sugar and Water – I use milk I tend to get a better consistency but here again – trial and error – GOOD LUCK!

Holiday Butter Cookies Recipe

Photo creds: King Arthur’s Flour

For a improvised recipe see below:

Holiday Butter Cookies from a professional baker:




  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons, or up to 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon milk; enough to make a pourable/spreadable icing
  • food coloring, optional
  • 1 cup coarse sugar or colored sugar for decorating, optional


  1. To make the cookies: Combine the sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, and flavor, beating until smooth. Add the flour, mixing until smooth. The mixture will seem dry at first, but will suddenly come together. If it doesn’t, dribble in a tablespoon of water.
  2. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flattened disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight. When you’re ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and let it soften for about 20 to 30 minutes, until it feels soft enough to roll. It should still feel cold, but shouldn’t feel rock-hard.
  3. Sprinkle your rolling surface with flour, and flour your rolling pin. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it 1/8″ to 3/16″ thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. Re-roll and cut the dough scraps. Place the cookies on ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets. They can be close together; they’ll barely spread.
  4. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until they’re set and barely browned around the edges.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool right on the pan. If you’ve used parchment, you can lift cookies and parchment off the pan, so you can continue to use the pan as the cookies cool.
  6. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, rolling, cutting, and baking cookies. When cookies are completely cool, ice and decorate.
  7. Icing: Combine the sugar, milk, and corn syrup to make a soft, spreadable icing, adding more milk if necessary. Tint the icing with food color as desired.
  8. Spread icing on the cookies, using a knife, a spoon, or your finger to spread it all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with colored sugar or other sugar decorations, as desired. Allow the icing to harden before storing the cookies.
  9. Yield: about 5 dozen 2″ cookies.

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