Decorated Shortbread and Sugar Cookies for Lily| Bake a Difference with #OXOGoodCookie

Disclosure: For this post, OXO sent me a lovely box of supplies for making cut-out cookies. OXO is donating $100 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer* for every blog post dedicated to this campaign during the month of September, including mine. Thank you OXO!

Buttery Shortbread Cancer is the worst. If you are a human being, I'm sure you know this, either through first-hand experience or through a family member's or a friend or acquaintance's journey.

I got to know cancer when my brother was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia back in 1996. Though we were ever-hopeful, his story ended exactly 2 1/2 years later.

Cancer is one of those diseases that is so ubiquitous in our society that there are many rallying points. Walk-a-thons, bake sales, lemonade stands. People raising money at the grassroots level all the way up to huge corporate-sponsored fundraising, all with the goal of providing more money for more research to help find a cure.

Bake a DifferenceFortunately, the search is bolstered by success stories. Stories of people who have beaten the odds. Stories of types of cancers that are becoming more and more treatable. Knowing that a diagnosis of cancer is now about fighting for your life rather than waiting for your death. Cancer is no longer whispered about. You can't whisper an enemy away. You have to defy it.

Today I can share with you, with permission**, the story of one of my best friend's children, a little girl named Lily who, after being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of five underwent treatment for 2 1/2 years and is now fast approaching one year, post treatment. Today, Lily is happy and healthy. She loves her mom and dad. She loves her grandmother and her cats and princesses. She is taking piano lessons and gymnastics. She's a Girl Scout, and she is loving the third grade. That she is here to do and be and love is a tribute, not only to the strength and care of her family, nurses and doctors, but also to the researchers who have worked tirelessly to make these types of statistics possible:

  • About 98 percent of children with ALL go into remission within weeks after starting treatment.
  • About 90 percent of those children can be cured. Patients are considered cured after 10 years in remission. (St. Jude)

Lily's future is looking very bright indeed.

lily collageI do not know if OXO's initiative, Cookies for Kids' Cancer has directly impacted Lily's treatment, but in all likelihood it has. I know that the research they fund has directly helped many, many kids and families. They grant funds to five of the leading childhood cancer research facilities in the US with the goal of finding less toxic and more effective treatments. This is huge, because kids need to be as strong as possible to fight cancer, and when the treatments make you feel horrible, it's hard to fight.

buttery shortbreadThis fight is a personal one for the OXO family. Cancer doesn't care who you are, or who your family is, or who they work for. So when childhood cancer struck in the OXO family, they didn't just sit back and hope for the best. They mobilized. They do great work year round, of course, but during September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, OXO is donating $.25 per sale of all their products labeled with this sticker:

CFKC Sticker

This is part of OXO's pledge to donate $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer.

September is winding down, but I bet you there are a ton of OXO products that you could use and would love, so get out there and get to buying!

Since I am partnering with OXO for their Cancer Awareness Month initiative, they were kind enough to send me a kit of Cookie Items. I had three choices for the kind of kit: spritz, drop or rolled. Since I generally tend to shy away from cookies in general since they are pretty time-intensive, I decided to choose the most time and labor-intensive kind of cookie: rolled and decorated cookies. Because if you're going to make cookies for someone who has survived cancer, the least you can do is step out of your comfort zone just a bit.cookies1I asked my friend Gail, the incredibly talented and generous cookie maven from One Tough Cookie, to share a great recipe for rolled cookies, which she most kindly did (printed below). She also encouraged me in my decorating when I thought I wouldn't be able to do them justice. Thank you, Gail! I also found another from The Kitchn, Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. I made dough from each recipe, rolled them out between sheets of parchment and cut them out with my awesome new OXO cookie cutters: circles, hearts and stars. I then used the great recipe for royal icing from Sweetopia, flavoring it with a touch of almond extract and a couple of drops of orange oil.cookies5Both recipes are pretty spectacular. The shortbread Gail shared is rich, buttery and has that nothing-else-like-it crisp/crumbly bite of shortbread. The cut-out cookie recipe from The Kitchn barely spread at all, so the edges of the shapes were very crisp. I would highly recommend either recipe, although I might keep the shortbread for myself or for local giving, saving the others for shipping since they are a bit sturdier from the addition of an egg.

The decorating itself took me hours and hours. And hours. I decorated each cookie along Lily's favorite princess theme, and because no two cancers are exactly alike because no two people are exactly alike, I made sure that no two of my cookies were exactly alike either. Each is unique, just like us.

After they dried, I packed them up well and shipped them off to Lily, where they were Very Well Received indeed!Lily

lily smile cookie

I am thrilled for my friend that her baby is happy and healthy, and I don't think that would have been possible even just ten or twenty years ago. It's all thanks to research funded from people and companies who care. Thank you, OXO, for being one of those companies.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Buttery Shortbread
Recipe type: Cookie
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
Recipe from the book Sarabeth's Bakery, page 225 as shared with my by Gail Dosik.
What You Need
  • 2 sticks room temp butter
  • ½ c superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 c unbleached flour
  • ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
What To Do
  1. Beat butter, add sugar, vanilla & lemon zest & beat on med high til light & fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Reduce mixer to low add flour & salt in 3 additions.
  3. Mix til combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  4. Roll out into a rectangle & chill for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Cut out and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes total, rotating pans from front to back midway thru baking.
  6. Cool completely before decorating with your favorite icing. I used the Royal Icing Recipe from I flavored mine with ¼ teaspoon almond extract and 3 drops of orange oil.

Even if you don't think you can decorate cookies, I encourage you to give it a try. It was worth if for the smiles alone!

Thank you for taking the time to read today. Please, before the end of September, go find and buy some OXO products labeled with this sticker and help to Bake a Difference

CFKC Sticker

Both OXO and Cookies for Kids' Cancer have a strong social media presence. Please follow them on whatever platforms are your favorites:

Twitter: @OXO / @Cookies4Kids
Instagram: @OXO / @Cookies4Kids
Facebook: /
Pinterest: /

And find all the Bake a Difference posts by searching for the hashtag #OXOGoodCookie

*Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids' Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.

**All photos of Lily taken by her Mom, Liz, and used with permission


  1. says

    Jenni, beautiful post and I do care about you and really enjoy reading your posts. You are a good friend and it is so lovely that you took the time out to share with us the loss of your brother and the journey of Lily. Thank you.

  2. Melissa maude says

    You are just the kindest and caring friend to lily and her mom. And you are a pretty amazing cookie maker / decorator, although you KNEW you could do it. Or at least I knew you could.

  3. says

    I had always thought it strange that my life had not been impacted by cancer as so many others. Oh sure; I had some distant relatives that I heard about but up close and personal I was lucky that my friends and family were spared.

    Then came news last year that my daughter had cancer. I still can not say or write those words without tears because no matter their age; your children are not supposed to be afflicted; save that for those of us who have had more years to live; who can at least say they did it all; married, children, careers; a life.

    My daughter may have been 29 but she is MY baby and we are so very fortunate that treatment worked for her. Not without some heartache but she was so brave and losing her lovely long hair broke her heart; just not her spirit!

    I have often thought of ‘what if’ thinking what if this had been at some other time and place when all of the research done had not yet brought the successes we see. But more needs to be done, for children like Lily and for Lauren’s friend Brandon who just died last week leaving behind a wife and their 5 month old daughter. I don’t need any kitchen products but I know someone who does…and she is now thriving at her new job in Las Vegas. I just know she would be delighted to have mom send her some goodies but I also know they’ll have special meaning to her too. In this battle against this monster it truly does take a village; contribute before your family needs the help so that it will be there when they do!

    Now about those cookies? Really superb job Jenni…I mentioned that I used to do something similar for holiday gifts years ago. So I know firsthand what a true and very real labor of love this was for you. Hope Lily loves them!

    • says

      It just punches you in the throat doesn’t it, Barb? I’m not a mom, but I saw what my mom went through, so I have an idea of how you must have felt. I’m so glad for you that your baby is okay.

      And thanks about the cookies–it really did take me forever. Liz sent me a couple of short video clips last night of Lily trying to decide which cookie she liked best. Made all that time more than worth it!

  4. says

    This is a wonderful piece, Jenni, and a wonderful way to use your skills! I am so glad that Lily is feeling well now, and I wish her a long and healthy life with many delicious cookies in her future! How lucky Lily and her mom are to have you in their lives. What a loving endeavor! I have selected some OXO products with the green sticker to purchase Saturday– very good cause! Thanks, Jenni.

  5. says

    Jenni, you are awesome … A great story that brought tears of joy for Lily and such inspiration from your dedication and love. Thank you for sharing!


  6. says

    I’m so thankful you were able to share Lily’s story. On the other hand I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. You are right there isn’t anyone who has not been affected by cancer. Really nice post, beautiful cookies! XO Sheila

  7. Kristie Brown says


    Thanks for the wonderful post. I am constantly amazed by what a wonderful group of friends we all had as children and that so many of those friendships are still so cherished today! Lizzie was my first friend when we moved to Charlotte. I am so thankful for the beautiful people who surround us. I am thrilled that your amazing friendship with Liz is still so strong. Lily is an awesome inspiration to us all. I honestly cannot imagine going through the struggles of your child having cancer (your mom, Liz, anyone!) Thank goodness Lily is doing so well.

    The unique set of cookies you sent were such an awesome tribute!

    Thanks again for sharing!

  8. says

    I don’t know if I knew that you lost your brother to CML…I’m so sorry. I worked as an RN on a heme-onc ward for 5 years. I primarily took care of leukemia and lymphoma patients…mainly adults, but some were teens. The teens were the toughest…and back then, we sent them to get BMT and few survived. I am SO glad the future is much brighter. My BIL actually had a stem cell transplant with an unrelated donor for a preleukemic condition and is doing well 6 years later. But I cannot imagine watching a young child go through this. I’m thrilled that Lily is doing so well. Prayers that her remission lasts a lifetime. Till then I will keep supporting the cause…I think I may need to purchase a few more cookie scoops!

    • says

      Thank you, Liz. My brother was just 31 when he died, and the BMT and resulting complications were just horrendous. Very glad that things keep getting better for folks coming along now, but it’s such a sad, relentless cycle. Would love to see the cycle broken sometime in our lifetime.

  9. says

    My own cousin just lost her very long battle against breast cancer, but she was with us for years longer than the doctors had thought. More research is needed (you know that from your brother) now and OXO’s actions and work is just fantastic everything they do to raise both money and awareness. And thanks for sharing Lily’s story, it is beautiful and gives everyone hope. Beautiful cookies and I can’t wait to try Gail’s recipe! xoxox

    • says

      They really are buttery and delicious, Jamie! Hoping that if enough money ends up with the right people that good things can happen. Very sorry to hear about your cousin, friend. 🙁

  10. says

    I have some holiday shopping coming up and I always load up on cooking supplies for friends and family. I need to head out early and look for that logo so I can make sure these holiday presents do a little extra good. I am glad to hear Lily is doing well and hope that through more research we can help many many more people.

    Great post Jenni 🙂 Thank you

  11. Joan says

    Wonderful post and a beautiful little girl. For someone who stepped out of their comfort zone those cookies are incrediable looking.

  12. Sherry says

    Thanks for all you and OXO have done to find a cure for cancer! Treatments and cures have come a long way but there’s still so much more that needs to be done.

    I’m employed at a Comprehensive Cancer Center in a large city. The research that is being done is promising but unfortunately, not all of our genes are made the same. I’ve seen huge strides in cancer and get excited with every new study that crosses my desk. We are getting promising results and what’s even more promising is seeing Lilly, happy, healthy and munching on a delicious cook.

    Thanks, Jenni. You continue to amaze me in all that you do for EVERYONE!

    • says

      I think personalization of treatment might be a key, Sherry, although I am by no means an expert. I just think we’re all different and perhaps react to treatments in different ways. Hence the no-two-cookies-alike. 🙂


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