Aunt Ellia’s Butter Cookies



1 1/2 cups butter, softened 3 3/4 cups flour


 dsc070293/4 cup sugar

 2 eggs, separated


 1/4 teaspoon salt

 1 tablespoon vanilla

 2 tablespoons water


 1.  Oven to 375 to 400 degrees.

2.  Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks, vanilla, flour and salt.   Mix well to form a dough.

3.  Fill a cookie press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Brush cookie tops with egg

    whites and water, slightly beaten.  Decorate with sprinkles.

4.  Bake in hot oven until golden, about 5 or 6 minutes.

5.  ENJOY – Good Luck!  (Aunt Ellia’s ending comment on her recipe) 



This Christmas isn’t going to be the same without Aunt Ellia or her butter cookies. Christmas with Aunt Ellia and her butter cookies are a family tradition. Over the last few years, she has been baking her cookies as gifts to certain family members and luckily, my family has been one of them.  The cookies she baked were more precious than gold.  We try not to eat too many at once because we want them to last as long as possible.  Through the years, I have baked Aunt Ellia’s butter cookie recipe, but her cookies always tasted better.  The ingredients are the same to the “t”, but I can never get them to taste exactly like hers.  I will miss her butter cookies but not as much as I will miss her. 

I first met Aunt Ellia when I was dating her nephew, my husband, Tom.  He brought me over to meet Aunt Ellia and Uncle Mario around Christmas time.  I will never forget how she made me feel immediately as she welcomed me into her home.  Everyone was exchanging Christmas presents and to my surprise, she handed me a gift from under her tree.  She made me feel I was part of the family that day.  Her gesture meant so much to me.   I never forgot her warmth and to this day, I always try to have a present for everyone who visits with me during the holidays.  When Tom and I were engaged, I remember going to Aunt Ellia’s for dinner a few days later to celebrate.  She was someone special my husband wanted to share the good news with.  Uncle Mario took a picture of us together, and it is probably the only one I have of our engagement.  My wedding dress was my Aunt Olga’s dress borrowed from her to wear on my wedding day.  My Aunt Olga and Uncle Dom had just celebrated their 25th anniversary at the time.  The dress was all satin and lace, extremely delicate but a little large on me.  I asked Aunt Ellia if she could alter it.  I remember going to her house and standing in that dress on a chair as she pinned me here and there. Without her expertise with sewing adjustments, I would not have been able to wear my Aunt Olga’s dress, and it fit me like a glove. 

There were so many special moments in Tom’s and my lifetime with Aunt Ellia and Uncle Mario, always being there with us. We shared special occasions with them as well as Sunday dinners.  These Sunday dinners in their home were a special event, and we were thrilled to be asked to join.  We would talk about her Sunday dinner for the entire week afterwards.


Most of all, I think I will miss the times when Aunt Ellia and I walked around the block a few times and just talked about life.  I will miss the many recipes from her cookbook she shared with me over a cup of tea.  I was always seeking her advice on cooking, and I would often call her to ask her opinion on some new recipe I was trying out.  Anytime there was an article in the paper or I wrote a story I thought she might like, I would mail it to her.  Aunt Ellia would call me and tell me she enjoyed reading what I had sent.  She was one of my biggest fans.  She was proud of me as she was of everyone else in her family. 


No more phone calls ending with her “I love you”, no more five course Sunday dinners, (just when you thought you were done she would bring out more food), no more butter cookies, and most of all, no more Aunt Ellia.  Only memories remain; wonderful, comforting memories of a special “Mom” to all of us, who would be proud that her butter cookies, her recipes, her legacy lives on and will be passed down generation to generation.

I honor Aunt Ellia the only way I know how, by baking her traditional butter cookies and having my children and grandchildren enjoy them this Christmas and every Christmas hereafter, remembering her lovingly with every bite of cookie.       




4 thoughts on “Aunt Ellia’s Butter Cookies

  1. Marianne, I cannot wait to make these…although it sounds like they will not turn out as beautiful and yummy as your Aunt Ellia’s, which is ok by me. You have a beautiful family, a wonderful way with words and an amazing nack with bringing stories to life. I always enjoy this site! Keep up the great works!! Happy Holidays!! Janice

  2. What a beautiful piece and what a wonderful way to honor your Aunt Ellia. Holidays aren’t the same without our special loved ones, but somehow I know they are with us when we cook, bake, or discuss special dinners or events that we had with them. Their spirit lives on.

  3. I make a cookie that is almost exactly like this. They are very good plain, but also sometimes, just to be different, I make them in small balls and flatten them with a depression in the middle. About half-way through the cooking, but about a half spoon of jelly, preserves, mincemeat (my favorite) or a bit of chocolate in the depression.

    I appreciated your story. Sometimes the food and the memories are all we have left of them.

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