Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies – Basic Recipe

By Christopher Taylor

Kids making Cookie Cutter Christmas Cookies in Santa Hats.This is a very simple recipe that our family has used for over 40 years to make cut-out Christmas cookies that you can then decorate! I’m sure there are many variations of this recipe, the one that we have always used is from that old stand-by, the Joy of Cooking. Do not stress about the decorating! You can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to be! We made it a fun family tradition to have a “cookie day,” and sit around the dining-room table, trying to decorate cookies faster than eating them! You can also invite friends over for a relaxed holiday party, with coffee and cookies that everyone can decorate, and then take home!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (room-temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 

That’s it, just 7 ingredients. . . truly simple! First of all, I make myself a cup of coffee. Once you have that, you are all set to go.

1.  Cream the butter and sugar together with a mixer.
2.  Then beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
3.  Add to this the flour, baking powder (NOT baking soda!) and salt. As the mixer combines these ingredients, cookie dough will form in your bowl.  If the dough seems too dry, and is not forming a mass, try adding 1 more egg. Eggs vary quite a bit in size, and one small egg might not be enough to do the job!

Pat the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. Once the dough is thoroughly chilled, preheat the oven to 350, remove the dough from the fridge and the plastic wrap, roll out on a floured surface. A good thickness to aim for is 1/8th of an inch. Now use your favorite cookie cutters to create shapes. Use a spatula to move cookies to your cookie sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies begin to lightly brown on the edges. Since oven temperatures vary, watch them closely! Cool slightly and decorate!

Ready to try your hand at Gingerbread? Take a look at our video for a no bake way to include little ones in making a Gingerbread House from a kit and start making holiday memories to last a lifetime today.
Here are a couple items that you may want to add to your Christmas list:

A Silpat for non-stick baking perfection, a little mood music and classic cookie cutters. Here’s a link to a Christmas Tree cookie cutter to get you started. We love candy canes, snowmen, angles, stars, snowflakes and Santas, too. Flesh out your collection, pick up a whole set of your favorites – if you’re just starting out – or use them to embellish your holiday wrapping. They make great gifts when you present them with a jar of dry cookie dough ingredients, pre-measured and ready to go!

Christmas Cookie Decorations 4 - California Lifestyle Tips from EncinoMom.com the California Lifestyle magazine.

Image credit: ilona75 / 123RF Stock Photo
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