Here’s Grandma’s  go-to recipe for the kids to use with cookie cutters to make all sorts of holiday ideas: for Chocolate Chip Cookies, simply add chocolate chips; for Mexican Wedding Cookies: add finely chopped pecans or walnuts, bake and after cooling, toss the cookies in icing sugar; for Thumbprint Cookies: before baking, make a thumbprint in a ball of dough and spoon a dollop of jelly in the center; for Chocolate Cookie dough: add cocoa powder. Use the same basic recipe as an easy crust for pies or crumbles: spread the rolled dough thinly on the bottom of a pie pan and bake (before adding pie or crumble filling); and more!

 Makes 16 cookies
1/2 cup/110 g butter, room temperature
1 cup/200 g sugar
1 egg, beaten to mix
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups/225 g + 2 tablespoons flour

1. Preheat the oven on 375˚F/190˚C and set a shelf in the center. Butter a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Sift together the dry mixture of salt, baking powder and flour into a bowl.

2. For the dough: Cream the butter, gradually add in the sugar and cream together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.

3. Beat in the egg, then add in the milk/cream and the vanilla and mix well. Add a quarter of the dry mixture to the buttery mixture, adding the remaining flour in batches. Mix well, including any chosen flavoring. To form balls, take a tablespoonful of the mixture into the palm of your hand, roll into a ball with your hands and set it on the baking sheet.

4. Leave the dough in balls, leaving them to flatten in the heat of the oven. Bake the cookies until lightly browned, 9-12 minutes depending on their shape. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. They keep well for a day or two but in my house they never last that long!