Nostalgic Cookie Stars

Remember those Barnum’s animal crackers that came in the little box printed like a circus wagon and with a string handle?

When I was a kid, those were my favourites. Mum used to let us kids get a box when she did the weekly grocery shopping (no doubt a ploy to keep us quiet), and I can still remember trailing her through the store carrying my little box of cookies.

This week, I found a cookie recipe that evokes those animal crackers. From the most beautifully designed cookbook I’ve ever seen–The Gourmet Cookie Book–these Moravian White Christmas Cookies are stars.

The recipe makes a huge number of cookies, and the dough is not the easiest to work with. Make sure it is well chilled before rolling, roll it in small batches on a well-floured board, and give yourself plenty of time.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp sherry (I used brandy)

Cream butter. Add sugar gradually and beat until light. Add eggs and continue to beat. Combine dry ingredients, and add them alternately with the sherry. Chill several hours.

Roll dough to 1/16 inch (seriously–the thinner the better) and cut with cookie cutters. Bake on a greased baking sheet at 450°F for 7 minutes (I found that the cookies burned at this temp/time combination–keep a close eye on them and pull them out when they begin to brown).


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