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From the food editor: Welcome to our new Holiday Desserts tradition

Times food editor Michelle Stark carries on a family tradition with Grandma’s Scotch Shortbread.

Patty Yablonski | Times

Times food editor Michelle Stark carries on a family tradition with Grandma’s Scotch Shortbread.

My grandma is the kind of lady who saved sour cream containers and used them to store dinner leftovers. So it makes sense that her most popular holiday recipe was for minimalist shortbread dough that she stretched to create dozens of festive cookies. To this day, no one can figure out how she got thirty-something cookies out of this recipe.

My family and I have continued her tradition, making these cookies every year without fail. When I was a kid, the part where we got to cut out shapes and decorate with green and red icing was a blast; now, I make them because they remind me of Grandma, and of our family traditions.

Welcome to our inaugural Holiday Desserts collection.

This year, we have expanded our annual Christmas cookie issue to more kinds of desserts. And we're putting an emphasis on the stories that accompany them, to feature as many of your voices as we can.

The goal is to highlight those food-family connections the holidays tend to conjure up. Months ago, we put a call out to readers, asking them to send in their treasured recipes, whether for Christmas or Hanukkah or something more secular. We received many submissions, and the result is this collection, which highlights more than a dozen dessert recipes and the fond stories and memories that accompany them.

I am sharing my grandma's cookie recipe because it's the one that means the most to me, but other readers' meaningful holiday recipes ranged from cakes to candy to pies.

We hope you find something to like, something that can perhaps become a new tradition in your household.

Contact Michelle Stark at or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.



Grandma's Scotch Shortbread

Grandma's Scotch Shortbread


  • For the cookies:
  • 1 cup butter or shortening
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • For the icing:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Milk
  • Food coloring


  1. Cream butter or shortening; add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour and mix to a soft dough. Pat or roll out on lightly floured board to 1/4-inch thickness.
  2. Cut with cookie cutters. Brush with milk and sprinkle sugar on top of each cookie.
  3. Bake on ungreased baking sheet in a slow oven of 325 degrees about 20 minutes, until brown.
  4. Note: I just bake mine without brushing with milk and sugar and then I ice them with green and red icing (see recipe). Makes 3 dozen.
Source: Peggy Stark


From the food editor: Welcome to our new Holiday Desserts tradition 11/30/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 2:53pm]
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