Holiday Sugar Cookies
This is perhaps the most anticipated recipe in my kitchen each year. These buttery sugar cookies are good for any occasion – I’ve cut out Christmas shapes, Valentine hearts, Easter Eggs and Bunnies or just plain make round ones with frosting for a every popular delicious treat!
It is a tradition handed down from my Mom, and one of those things that brings everyone to the table each year for a time of creativity, memories and yes, even a little decorating competition. I know this tradition will go on with my kids and their kids, because it is a special time each year that I know they enjoy.
And for one brief hour, the cell phones, TV’s, X-Boxes and computers go off and are forgotten.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Today’s post will be the sugar cookie portion of our tradition. Tomorrow, I’ll show you how we frost them.
We make up the cookies usually one day, and then frost them the next. It’s simple. Let me show you how.
First off you’ll need a few things – you’ll need a rolling pin and some cookie cutters. I have collected these cookie cutters for several years. Start with a few and keep collecting! It becomes a quest.
I am currently looking for a Christmas light bulb looking cutter. If you see one, please let me know here! I do not like the cheap plastic cutters (they tend to stick to the dough) and have found that the metal ones with no top work the best for me.
Hey, let’s make cookies shall we?!
Start by creaming a cup of butter with a cup of sugar with your mixer.
You want it to get light, yellow and fluffy.
Then add in one egg, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. If you can, stand back and take pictures and use slave (your kids) labor.
Mix it again until all is stirred up really well.
Add in two and two-thirds cup of flour one cup at a time and mixing a little in between each cup.
The above redhead knows what she’s about to do to my kitchen. It will soon look like it’s snowed. Thus.. “the face”.
Scrape your dough out of the bowl onto some waxed paper or plastic wrap and shape it into a disc shape.
Wrap it up well in the wax paper or plastic wrap and pop it into your refrigerator for at least one hour to chill.
Then take it out and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of flour over your (clean) countertop and using a rolling pin, roll it to 1/8 inch thickness.
It doesn’t have to be a perfect shape or anything, just semi-shaped into an oval or square.
Now you’re ready to cut your cookies out!
Take your cookie cutters and begin pressing down on the dough, as close to each other as possible without cutting into lines you’ve already made.
This begins to become a challenge the more you do it. How many can you squeeze out of your current rolling of dough?
Then using a small spatula with a sharp edge, quickly scrape up each cookie and place it on a cookie sheet.
I use Silpat mats on my baking sheets but you could also just use parchment paper or even nothing.
Unlike chocolate chip cookies, these cookies won’t puff much when baking, so you can put them fairly close together.
I bake these for exactly eight minutes, but since ovens vary in temperature, check yours at seven minutes. They’re perfect when the edges barely get a tinge of goldenness. At this point, you’ll want to remove them to a piece of wax paper or a cooking rack to cool.
Let them cool completely and then store them in some sort of container until ready to frost.
These can be made ahead and stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to a month before.
Tomorrow, i’ll show you how we frost them! (Click here to go to the post!)