Grandpa’s Teekuchen Cut-Out Cookies are something everyone in my family looks forward to at Christmas time. He made them every year that I can remember, and they are my hands-down favorite. We always just called them “teekuchens” (pronounced tee-kook-ens, German for shortbread), which must mean that this recipe came from my German ancestors. No one can quite make them like my grandfather, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. Even since his passing, there is always a tray of them at the family celebration, thanks to my talented cousins. Once in a while I get a hankering to try my hand at these cookies. This Christmas I wanted to share them with Keith. As I began mixing the dough, I was quickly reminded that I did not inherit the “baking gene”. My grandfather was so good at this, rolling the dough paper-thin and patiently cutting out those tricky Christmas shapes. He loved his with chopped pecans on the top. While my mother was baking one of twelve different kinds of her beloved Christmas cookies, I was losing my patience trying to bake off this one simple recipe. As I took the lovely sparkling teechukens out of the oven, I was reminded of why I love these cut-out cookies so much. As they baked, the house filled with that familiar smell, and I was transported back to my Christmases as a child. Teekuchens are well worth the effort, and you can see it on your loved ones faces as they take their first bite. For me, sharing them with Keith made it all worth while. I cannot wait to take them home for my family to sample. Although they will never be as good as my grandfather’s, I am sure he would be proud.
Grandpa’s classic Christmas cookie recipe
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter (at room temp)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- With electric or stand mixer, mix flour, salt and powdered sugar together.
- Mix in butter.
- Beat egg, but only use 2 teaspoons of egg in batter
- Add vanilla and blend well.
- Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Roll out chilled dough on floured surface to 1/8″ thickness
- Cut out using cookie cutters
- Use balance of egg mixture to brush tops of each cookie.
- Sprinkle with colored sugar (and chopped nuts if you choose).
- Bake for 5 to 7 minutes