For as long as I can remember, the tradition leading up to Christmas at home was putting the Christmas tree and decorations up while listening to holiday music and baking cookies. It was clockwork once the first weekend in December arrived. It sets the mood and it definitely puts me in the holiday spirit.
Sugar cookies are a buttery classic that make a delicious anytime treat. However, cutting them in snowflake, gingerbread, tree and star shapes make them so special for the holiday season. Enjoy them plain, or decorate them with icing to make them festive. This year, I bought cookie cutter plungers from Homesense that gave the cookies a festive but minimalist look.
These can be packaged in pretty holiday cellophane bags and gifted to friends, family and colleagues. Enjoy with a glass of eggnog (I’d go for the spiked version) and spread the holiday cheer with friends and family.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Assorted candies, sprinkles and coloured icing
- 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk or water
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. With the mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in saran wrap; freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator overnight).
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one dough disk from the fridge and let it stand 5 to 10 minutes to get to room temperature. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough gets soft, chill 10 minutes.) Re-roll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Bake for 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size), rotating halfway through, until edges are golden. Cool completely on wire racks.
- To make the icing, sift icing sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in milk (or water), 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it’s too thin, whisk in more sugar; if it’s too thick, add more liquid. Spread over cookies with back of a spoon. Add other decorations, if desired. Alternatively, you can put icing in a piping bag and decorate with a tip for fancier decorating. Let the icing harden, about 20 minutes.