Nothing evokes the spirit of the holidays more than the traditional foods that mark the season. Whether your holiday include latkes, a delicious butternut squash souffle, or even a deathless fruitcake, Googlers love to commemorate the occasion with food.

Last week I spent the afternoon baking Christmas cookies with a group of culinary-minded Googlers. Traditionally, this cookie is not just a festive holiday snack; it also makes a great homemade gift and an absorbing arts and crafts project. Our little get-together not only resulted in some melt-in-your mouth treats, but also allowed us to roll up our sleeves and get creative. Check out the photo album from our baking session, and try my recipe for buttery shortbread cookies.

Buttery Shortbread Cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix the following ingredients until smooth:
1-½ sticks unsalted butter (must be soft)
2-3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Then add the following ingredients and mix until smooth:
8 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon +1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 cups all-purpose flour.

Mix everything thoroughly until dough comes together. Gather to a ball and flatten to a disc.

Chill the dough until firm. You might want to prepare the dough in the evening before you plan on baking and chill it overnight.

When chilled, roll to ¼-inch thickness, and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Sprinkle tops with assorted sugars, jimmies and sprinkles.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 10-12 minutes on either a sheet greased with vegetable oil spray or a cookie sheet pan with parchment paper. Edges will be golden when they are done.

You may also bake the cookies plain, cool them, and then brush with icing sugar. Cover the whole surface of the cookie.

Serves: 4 dozen.