Chef Catherine St. John is the owner of the Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson.

This is a pretty simple recipe that has been in my family for several generations. My mother grew up with it and my sister and I also grew up with it. It is very important to use real unsalted butter and do not substitute anything else.

POLISH BUTTER COOKIES

1 lb. unsalted butter, softened

¾ lb. light or dark brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 egg yolks, whites reserved

4 cups flour

Sugar sprinkles, pecan halves or candied cherries, for decoration

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter for a few minutes. Add the brown sugar and cream again. Add the vanilla and egg yolks. Beat on medium speed to combine.

Slowly add in the flour until it is incorporated into the other ingredients. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and transfer the dough to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours, or until the dough is well chilled.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Roll dough into balls the size of a walnut. (Cookies can be frozen at this point, thawed and baked later.) Place 12 dough balls on each sheet.

Dip a fork in the remaining egg white and gently press into each dough ball to slightly flatten. Top each cookie with sugar sprinkles, half a pecan or half a candied cherry. (We always made cookies with a variety of toppings.)

Repeat until all the dough is gone. Bake at 325 for 12 to 15 minutes or just until the cookies turn a light brown on the bottom. Transfer to a cooling rack.

When cool, store in an airtight container.

Makes 5 dozen.