Christmas Sugar Cookies

In our house, it just isn’t the Christmas season without a marathon baking day with all the sisters and as many grandkids as we can gather–with our favorite holiday music providing the atmosphere, of course. Most of the cookies are set aside for about 14 plates for the neighbors, but we make sure to save some to enjoy throughout the holiday ourselves (and we eat more than a few while baking — gotta test one or two – or five – to make sure they turned out okay, right?).

 

Baking Sugar Cookies -- Everyday Homemaking

Photo courtesy of Rebekah McBride, www.honeyandcheese.com

Some of our favorites include Russian teacakes (a.k.a. snowballs), chocolate chip oatmeal, chocolate oatmeal no-bakes, pizzelles, spritz cookies (vanilla and chocolate, of course), and OF COURSE…..sugar cookies with royal icing and/or red or green sprinkles.

Baking Sugar Cookies -- Everyday Homemaking

Photo courtesy of Rebekah McBride, www.honeyandcheese.com

You can find the recipes for most of our cookies (and the fudge and toffee we often include) in our cookbook, Everyday Cooking. But I wanted to share the sugar cookies with you here, since we always have such a blast with them. And the great thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t require refrigerating the dough. This is awesome because I usually forget to do that sort of thing in advance, so this recipe simplifies my cookie-baking.

Baking Sugar Cookies -- Everyday Homemaking

Photo courtesy of Rebekah McBride, www.honeyandcheese.com

Kristy’s Roll-Out Cookies

1 c. butter, softened                              1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. sugar                                              2 tsp. baking powder

1 lg. egg                                                3 c. flour

Cream butter and sugar (I prefer a mixer, but you can do this by hand).

Add egg and vanilla. Add the rest of the ingredients gradually. DO NOT CHILL DOUGH.  (At this point, if you will be a while, wrap or put in airtight container to keep it from drying out.)

When you are ready to cut out the cookies:

Divide into 2 balls. Roll out 1/8 – ¼ inch thick. I find this easiest between two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap, or a silicone baking mat and a plastic wrap top.

Cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet (I lecithin/oil lightly anyway) on top rack for 6-8 min at 400°, till lightly golden. Cool on racks or newspapers.

(If icing with Cookie Icing, below, then you omit the sprinkle sugar before baking. Cool cookies, then frost and sprinkle as desired.)

Adapted from a recipe from my good friend Kristy Thrasher, now of South Carolina, formerly of Fort Lee

Since my family has not yet gotten accustomed to sugar cookies with all whole-grain flour, we mix our whole grain flour half and half with all-purpose unbleached for these.

Cookie Icing   (eggless; similar to royal icing)

1 cup 10X (powdered) sugar, 2 tsp light corn syrup, 1 Tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla, drop food coloring (add more to the desired color). Mix in a mixer; add more milk 1 tsp at a time to the desired consistency. (Make medium consistency for cookies, or thicker to “glue” gingerbread houses.)

 

Baking Sugar Cookies -- Everyday Homemaking

                                                                                                                             Cut-out cookies, a la the one-year-old.         Photo courtesy of Rebekah McBride, www.nodeskrequired.com

Baking Sugar Cookies -- Everyday Homemaking

                                                                                                                                              He likes a bit of cookie with his sugar sprinkles.  Photo courtesy of Rebekah McBride, www.nodeskrequired.com

The More, the Merrier…or is that “the Messier”?

We recently expanded our cookie decorating to include about 45 kids and moms from our local support group. I baked 40+ dozen cookies in

Decorating Christmas Cookies

advance, then set up decorating stations in several locations so children could work in small groups, sharing bowls of icing. So the children would know whose were whose as they dried, each child was given a paper plate or two with his name on the border to identify his masterpieces.

Since we had various ages and ability levels, we offered icing in pastry tubes for older ones, and bowls of icing with paintbrushes for the younger ones, with squeeze bottles of colored icing for contrast. For example, these trees took just a swipe of the paintbrush, then I added a bit of design with the squeeze bottles.

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Looking for cookie cutters? In a pinch, use a small round can, such as a tomato paste can, or a juice glass, or a biscuit cutter. My friend Marilyn Boyer at The Learning Parent / Character Concepts has some nifty nativity scene cookie cutters. To keep mine simple, I made dozens and dozens of trees (triangles) and cut them out assembly-line style:


A few more suggestions:
(Affiliate links–meaning, you pay the same price as usual, but I make a few cents here and there to help us bring you fun content like this!)

Bosch Universal Plus mixer with baking attachmentsBosch Universal Plus mixer with baking attachmentsBosch Universal Plus mixer with baking attachmentsBosch Compact MixerBosch Compact MixerBosch Compact MixerGingerbread House cutters setGingerbread House cutters setGingerbread House cutters setChip brushes (for broad-stroke icing)Chip brushes (for broad-stroke icing)Chip brushes (for broad-stroke icing)Gel food coloring - asstd colorsGel food coloring – asstd colorsGel food coloring - asstd colors

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