Sugar Cookies: Memories, Love, and Life

Our ¼ Azorean merchandiser, Natalie was born and raised in Wyoming. She now calls San Antonio her home, and shares about her sugar cookie traditions. 

Photo by Markus Spiske


Some of my favorite Christmas memories involve baking and candy making with my grandma. There wasn’t a shortage of peanut brittle, fudge, or divinity at her house during this magical part of the year, but my favorite treat we made was her sugar cookies. She’d bake up a big batch of the buttery, golden cookies and my sisters and I would spend the afternoon with her decorating them with buttercream frosting. She would have big bowls of white frosting ready to go when we arrived, but she would wait and let us add the color …that was part of the fun. A few drops of coloring transformed the snow white frosting into beautiful Christmas shades. We’d then use this to frost the trees, snowflakes, stars, and bells, but my absolute favorite shape were the “gingerbread” people.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure that just as much frosting went in our mouths as it did on the cookies. Before we knew it, the whole afternoon slipped away; not only were we surrounded by piles of colorful cookies, but we had also been enveloped in laughter and love. It’s been years since we last decorated cookies together, but I’ll carry that love and those memories with me for the rest of my life. Even now, as I’m making my own traditions as an adult. The Christmas season never quite seems complete without an afternoon of candy or cookie making with the people I love most.


Helen’s Rolled Butter Cookies


3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 eggs

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat the oven to 400º F. Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter into dry mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives. In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Then add sugar and vanilla. Combine the two mixtures. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes. Bake 8-10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.