Decorating Christmas cookies is one of my favorite things to do with my girls. Last night we had a decorating party at our house for my small group of 6th grade girls from church. It was fun to watch them giggle while they worked and created their own beautiful cookies, sprinkled with memories of the most wonderful time of the year. This is the best recipe I have found for baking sugar cookies, and I have used it for years to make cookies througout the the year to give as gifts:
This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters. The dough holds its' shape and won't spread during baking. Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.
6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself)
1 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.
Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below)
Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe
can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.
HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess -- Rather than wait for your cookie dough to
chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper.
Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring
1.In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
2.Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. (I use a small knife to apply the icing, a small paintbrush would work also.) For easy piping, add a small amount of icing to a ziplock bag, twist the bag until the icing accumulates in one corner. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag with scissors.