Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Cookies! + recipes

Yay, cookies!

One of my all-time favorite Christmas memories is making cookies with my mom. As a kid, I'd stand on a chair so I could reach the counter, wearing a homemade, decorated apron. (I can't remember if I decorated it or if my mom did.) My mom would mix up the ingredients and cut out the shapes, and my dad would ice them after they'd been baked. I was on sprinkle patrol, artfully arranging sugar ornaments on the Christmas trees, nonpareil scarves on snowmen, and red holly berries on wreathes. Or, you know, just dumping them in the center of the cookie and moving on. (I became more conscious of sprinkle coverage and sprinkle-to-cookie ratio with age.)

We've used different recipes over the years, especially for our cut-out cookies. Here's this year's lot:


1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. (We wound up using a hand mixer to get out the lumps.) Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour. (I recommend overnight, however. The dough was still very sticky after the initial hour.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on sugared* surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. (We used parchment paper. No need to worry about the cookies sticking!) If dough starts to become sticky again, simply add a little more confectioner's sugar. Storing the dough in fridge between batches also helps.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes. Cool.

For homemade icing, mix a little water with confectioner's sugar until smooth but not runny. Add vanilla, almond, or lemon extract and food coloring! Spread over cooled cookies and add sprinkles if desired. (Oh, I desire sprinkles.)

Yield: 5 dozen

*You could use flour here instead, but using too much could make the cookies come out, well, flour-y. Confectioner's sugar achieves the same goal, and adds a little extra sweetness.

Spiced Crackle Cookies
(Kenny loves these, and jealously guards them every year.)

These cookies are the perfect balance of soft, moist, and crispy. If you're a fan of ginger snaps, you'll love these.

½ cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
2 cup flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp crystallized ginger, chopped
¾ cup confectioner's sugar


In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and molasses with hand mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in egg until blended, scraping down side of bowl. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon in clean bowl. Add to butter mixture; beat on low speed until blended. Stir in crystallized ginger. Cover; refrigerate 1 hr.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray (or use parchemnt paper.) Place confectioner's sugar in bowl. Roll pieces of dough into 1 inch balls; then roll in confectioner's sugar to completely coat. Place on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350 for 11 minutes, or until cookies have expanded and flattened; the tops will be covered with cracks. Let cookies cool on baking sheets on wire rack 2 minutes. Transfer cookies directly to racks; let cool completely.

Try not to eat them all at once. =)

Yield: 3 dozen

So there you have it. What goodies are you enjoying this Christmas?

- Mother Nature Mom

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave Fan Mail Here