I probably should have included my favorite Christmas recipe in my favorite holiday traditions yesterday. My favorite recipe/food tradition started when I was in junior high. Every year, my oldest friend Bettina would come over and we would bake sugar cookies. After high school, it became a tradition for me to make the cookies for Christmas Day dessert every year. Now, my daughter helps me make them. Here is the most current recipe I use. It’s from Sweetopia. I’ve frosted them with everything from store bought frosting, homemade buttercream and Sweetopia’s Royal Frosting.
2 1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 3 tsp vanilla)
5 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1.Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low tomedium speed. (Use the paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – forabout one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mixagain for a few seconds more.Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporatedinto the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking;
not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
2.Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once andmix again.
3.Cut open your vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Add to mixing bowl. Alternatively, add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
4.Sift your dry ingredients together. (Flour, baking powder and salt).
5.Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Place a large tea towel or two small teatowels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’tescape. Mix on low speed for 3o seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the doughmixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important atthis stage not to over mix the dough (the glutens in the flour develop and the dough can become tough).
6.Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a bakingsheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
7.Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place onparchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
8.Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.They will then hold their shape better when baked.
9.Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
10.Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. The bakingtime will depend on the size of your cookie.
11.Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!
A few notes about the recipe: