Christmas Cookies

posted in: Blog, Recipe | 0

The holiday season is upon us. The past couple of weeks have found me busy with decorating and wrapping presents. This time of year also means that it’s time to bake (and eat) cookies. Between baking homemade gifts from my kitchen and attending cookie swaps, my oven is working overtime.

I treasure memories of my grandmother and I baking sugar cookies in preparation for the holidays. I love to head into the kitchen with my children so I can pass down my favorite recipes to them.

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These slice and bake shortbread cookies are delicious and easy to make.

Slice and Bake Shortbread Cookies

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 unsalted butter,softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour

 

  1. In a large bowl mix together the granulated and confectioners sugars.
  2. Add butter, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until creamy.
  3. Add flour and mix until well incorporated. The dough should resemble a ball.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 2 inch log.
  5. Wrap with wax paper and refrigerated until very firm. (This can take about 2 hours. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Slice dough into ¼ inch rounds and place about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake 12- 14 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown.
  9. Let the cookies cool 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

 

* These cookies can be customized to your preferences. I like to process ½ cup of slivered almonds to be added to the recipe with the sugars. ½ – 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or ground ginger also adds a little something special to this recipe.

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Each December, my children look forward to decorating gingerbread houses. We plan an evening devoted to baking and decorating. Even the littlest ones get involved, even if in the end, they are covered in icing and sprinkles.

Gingerbread

  • ½ cup unsalted butter,softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar until creamy.
  3. Stir in the eggs and molasses.
  4. Add baking soda, salt, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.
  5. Gradually stir in the flour, mixing continuously. The dough will appear stiff, so you may need to work the remaining flour in with your hands.
  6. Divide the dough into two even pieces.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about ⅛ inch thick.
  8. Using cookie cutters, cut into shapes.
  9. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 8 to10 minutes.
  11. Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.
  12. Once cooled,decorate with royal icing (see below.)

*Create larger sheets or use a special mold to create custom gingerbread houses. Decorate with your favorite candies and colored sugars to build the house of Hansel and Gretel’s dreams!

Royal Icing

  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 egg whites
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the sugar and cream of tartar.
  2. Blend in the egg whites and beat on high for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and stiff.
  3. Keep covered until you are ready to ice your cookies.

*If you want colored icing, add a few drops of food coloring while you are mixing.

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