Continuing our 4-part series, popular romance authors share their favorite holiday recipes--some even inspired by their novels--to help you with your holiday entertaining (part 1, part 2). Up next is Lin Stepp, author of the Smoky Mountain series. Her latest work can be found in the holiday collaboration, When the Snow Falls.
In my short novel A Smoky Mountain Gift, Veda Trent makes up a recipe of her Aunt Rita Jean’s Christmas Cookies with the eager and excited help of eight year-old Pamela. They cut out sugar cookie shapes of trees, stars, ornaments, snowmen, Santas, and reindeer, and then lavishly decorate the baked cookies with colored icings, candy sprinkles, silver balls, and cinnamon dots. The book’s happy scene reminds Veda of loving times with her Aunt Rita Jean baking cookies in the same farmhouse kitchen. The scene also brings back memories of my childhood days making sugar cookies with my mother and of later decorating warm, fragrant cookies with my own eager, excited children … The recipe below from mountain storyteller Rita Jean O’Neill is also my recipe passed down from my mother.
RITA JEAN’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES
2/3 cup solid shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 tsp milk
2 cups plain flour
1/ 4 tsp salt
1 and 1/ 2 tsp baking power
Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla by hand. Add egg. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir in milk. Sift together dry ingredients – flour, salt, and baking powder – and blend into creamed mixture. Chill for one hour; then roll out the dough 1/ 8 inch thick on lightly floured counter. Cut with Christmas cookie cutters.
Bake cookies 6-8 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool slightly, and then remove.
Decorate with colored icings and add assorted sprinkles, silver balls, cinnamon dots and decorative outlining as desired. … And above all, have fun!!!
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