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Now these really are a great Christmas cookie. This is a time-tested recipe handed down to me by my grandmother. I don’t know who Mumsey was, but I’ve enjoyed these cookies all my life. They are really a kind of classic Southern teacake, with some citrus zest added. They are thin, rich, and not overly sweet. I almost always bake these cookies and give them as gifts to neighbors, teachers, etc. You can give someone you really like a frozen roll of the dough, along with instructions for baking, and then they can just slice and bake. It’s a great gift, especially for a friend who is hosting family for the holidays.

One word of advice: This recipe makes a LOT. I mean, in my grandmother’s notes (included below) she actually says, “This recipe makes at least 20 dozen.” That’s a lot of cookies, people. I have a classic Kitchen Aide mixer and can’t make this full recipe because it’s just too much. In years past I’ve cut the recipe in half and it works fine. This year I decided to be brave and try the whole thing. I ended up having to do everything by hand. That’s right. not using a wooden spoon, using my hands. It was a lot of fun actually. I just mixed everything in a shallow bowl and got my (clean) hands into the sugar, butter, eggs, flour, etc. I’d never gotten quite that intimate with my ingredients, but I definitely recommend it if you’re ever feeling daring.

As I said, this recipe came to me from my grandmother. The notes are in italics are hers. I recommend slicing the cookies very thin. I’ve included a picture. The cookies just aren’t as good if you slice even 1/4 of an inch thick. I made the rolls a bit larger than she recommended; it’s up to you. You’ll get less cookies this way, but well, maybe you don’t need 20 dozen cookies.

Mumsey’s Cookies
Wonderful recipe to keep frozen to make when needed. Not very sweet with a touch of citrus.

3 c. butter softened [my grandmother calls for 3 1/2 c. margarine, softened, but I don’t use margarine. I find 3 c. is plenty]
5 c. sugar
zest of 2 oranges
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
7 c. all-purpose flour

Cream butter, sugar, zest, and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Form into rolls, 1 1/2 in. in diameter and refrigerate overnight or at least 1 hour. Slice thin and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes. Cookie edges should be browned.

Note: Dough can be frozen for several months. Makes at least 20 dozen cookies.

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