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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Star Cookies

No matter where we spent the holidays of my childhood, one thing was for sure- there would be star cookies.  I didn't know until I was older that there was a difference in the cookies at the different grandparents' homes, thoguh.  First, there were my Granny Strickland's star cookies (a recipe I always thought was from my Great Great Aunt Hazel, "Auntie").  These cookies were different from my Granny Poirot's sugar cookies.  To complicate things even more, what I've grown up thinking are Granny Strickland/Auntie's sugar cookies, are actually a recipe from my Granny Strickland's friend, Carol Stalder. 
Me, Gillian, and Granny Poirot baking cookies in her kitchen- Wichita Falls, TX

Per my mom, Carol was a wonderful cook whose husband was stationed in Germany at the same time as my Grandad Strickland.  Granny Strickland called these "Star Cookies" because Carol always made them in the shape of stars.  This recipe called for lemon extract in the icing glaze, so they had a bit of a tang to them.  My Granny Poirot's Sugar Cookies did not have lemon in them.  Since my dad never liked the tangy zest, my mom started leaving the lemon extract out of the recipe.

Star Cookies and Christmas tree shaped Star Cookies at my 3rd Annual Holiday Cocktail Party

No Thanksgiving or Christmas was complete without Star Cookies.  I remember my Granny Strickland staying up until midnight with my mom and aunts making Star Cookies on Christmas Eve and waking up at 5am on Christmas Morning to start the pies and turkey.  Star Cookies were the cookies I left for Santa on my "Cookies for Santa" plate that I made in second grade art class.  Weeks before Christmas, my dad would walk into the kitchen with a glimmer in his eye- just hoping some Star Cookies would be there waiting.  When there were no cookies to be found, my dad would pout and say, with a dejected face, "Oh... have you not made any cookies yet?"  Of course, my caring mom would immediately head to Albertson's and get everything to make the cookies for my poor, pitiful, "all I want is a measly cookie" dad.  (Kidding, Dad!)

Santa always eats Star Cookies at the Strickland house- this is the plate I made in 2nd grade

There are stipulations on the cookies though- they have to be juuuust right.  The perfect Star Cookie is thin, crispy, with just the right amount of homemade icing glaze.  (Icing the cookies has always been my favorite part- nothing like the warm, sugary goodness!)  The cookies have evolved from the traditional star shape to also include Christmas trees, stockings, and candy canes.  There are cactus cookies, coyote cookies, Texas state cookies, and (of course) longhorn cookies.  When The University of Texas Longhorns take on the Texas A&M Aggies every Thanksgiving, my mom always makes a big platter of longhorn cookies to cheer on our favorite burnt orange clad boys.
Longhorn shaped Star Cookies

Last year, while eating a leftover Star Cookie, I was creeping looking on Facebook, I saw my family friend, Kacie Skipworth (now Kacie Turner), had posted pictures of stockings that she had had made for her and her now-husband.  The stockings were so unique and so different than any I had ever seen- I knew right then that I wanted to have some made.  Kacie told me that her family friend, Carol, had made them for her and suggested that I Facebook message Carol and have her make me some, too.  So here I was, in January, already working on stockings for the next December.  Sweet Carol said that she would love to make me some stockings, and, as is typical in Wichita Falls, she also happened to know my my family.  Small world, right? Well- it gets smaller.

Ashlea, Kacie, and Me at Richard & Rhonda Poirot's house, Thanksgiving 2008

I went to Andy's sister, Carly's, house over Christmas when we were celebrating with our Wichita Falls families.  There, hanging on her fireplace was her son, Greyson, 's first Christmas stocking, and it was a Carol stocking! "Oh my gosh!" I told Carly, "I just asked Carol to make me some of those!"  As it turns out, Carol lives next door to Carly and Andy's parents, Melody and Bill.  Small, SMALL world.  Below are a few pictures of the stockings that Carol has begun for me, Andy, and my dog, Abbie.  For more products by Carol, click here to visit her Facebook page.

Abbie, Andy, and my stockings that Carol made- thank you!

Thank you so much, Carol, for adding to my Christmas traditions of homemade goodies! Maybe you can enjoy a star cookie while making some of your precious products this holiday season :)

Star Cookies
From a recipe combination of Carolyn Poirot, Great Aunt Dollie, Carol Stalder, Granny Poirot, and Granny Strickland!
Servings: 4-5 dozen (48-60 cookies); Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value:  2/cookie, un-iced (3 pts when iced)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Cream butter; gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla
  3. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt
  4. Gradually add to creamed mixture
  5. Chill for ease in handling
  6. Roll out cookie dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick
  7. Cut with floured cookie cutters into desired shapes
  8. Bake on cookie sheets in preheated 350 degree oven 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned
  9. Remove to wire racks to cool

Great Aunt Dollie
Servings: 60 (for cookies); Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 1/serving (on each cookie)

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt butter over medium heat on stovetop
  2.  Gradually add sugar and vanilla
  3. Gradually add milk
  4. Use a small spatula or knife to ice cookies
I want to try to healthify this recipe over the holidays.  While sugar cookies are meant to be buttery and rich, 3 points per cookie is awfully high value for such a small portion.  I'll let readers know how my experimenting goes, if I try it out!

Keep on cookin'!

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