Bobbi Fusco, of Brigantine, submitted several recipes to the 12 Days of Cookies contest, but it was Bobbi's Sugar Cookies that won for her. She's been making them for 45 years, ever since she got married, but she admits she didn't always make them right - and there's a story to why.

Fusco started making the cookies with a recipe she got from her mother-in-law, Ann Cecick, "to try to please my husband," Bob Fusco. But the cookies didn't taste quite right to Bob - because Bobbi says it was common knowledge in the family that his mom would leave ingredients out when she passed on recipes.

"She was a fantastic baker, but she didn't want anyone to be as good as she was," Bobbi says, laughing at the memory. So Bobbi worked with the recipe and adjusted it, and she's gotten pretty good at Christmas cookies herself. "I make about 12 or 15 varieties every year, and give them out to at least a dozen people. They look forward to those cans of cookies."

And, she adds, she's always very specific - and honest - with her recipes.

Bobbi’s Sugar Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup butter or margarine (I use butter)

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla (I use pure vanilla)

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In small mixer bowl, cream together butter/margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla. Stir together dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Chill dough thoroughly, 3 to 4 hours. (I usually make it the night before and roll it out in the morning.)

On well-floured surface, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters. I usually decorate with colored sugars, sprinkles, etc. However, I use this recipe for other holidays, and make a powdered sugar icing for them. It’s your own preference. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in 375-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes.

The trick to this recipe is rolling the dough as thin as it says. The compliments will never stop coming.

Makes: About 5 1/2 dozen cookies, depending on the size cookie cutters you use.