Christmas Sugar Cookies

Merry Christmas Eve readers!

I hope you’re all curled up in front of a corny Christmas special with your loved ones while the smell of roasted turkey or ham wafts through the room! As my special Christmas gift to you, I would like to add to that happy picture the plate of freshly frosted Christmas cookies  sitting next to you.

This cookie recipe is my favorite for Christmas cookies, really it’s the only one I ever make during the holidays, and my family usually ends up making a triple batch because they disappear so quickly! This is a really special recipe for me, it’s one of those things that brings me right back to when I was five and eagerly waiting for Santa to come. For this version, I used royal icing and sanding sugar to decorate these, but a jar of frosting and a little food coloring work just as well!

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Icing (makes about 1 1/2 cups):

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of powdered egg whites
  • 3 tbsp warm water

For the decorations:

  • Snowflake cookie cutters (or your favorite shape)
  • White sanding sugar

Directions:

For the cookies:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Cream together the egg and butter in a large bowl.

2. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extract and beat with an electric mixer until combined.  (Please note, Minnesota, this is what the ground is supposed to look like this time of year.)

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Add to the bowl and mix throughly to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

4. Roll dough 3/16 inch thick on lightly floured board. Tip: If you’re like me and suddenly discovered that you don’t have a rolling pin, a floured wine bottle or jar of pasta sauce works as well.

5. Use your cookie cutters to cut out the shapes, place them on a greased, or non-stick cookie sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown. Let them sit on the pan for a minute or so and then move to a wire rack to cool.

Icing:

1. Combine the powdered sugar, powdered egg whites and water in a bowl. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

Decorations:

1. Once the cookies are cool, spread the royal icing over the top of the cookies.

2. Working quickly to make sure the icing doesn’t harden, sprinkle the cookies with the sanding sugar to make them sparkle like snow.

3. Let the icing harden, then grab your favorite Christmas plate and set some out for Santa!

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