Dessert, Vegetarian

Christmas Cut-Out Sugar Cookies for the Holidays

Sugar Cookies

Ok, so these aren’t healthy per se, but they are tradition. Every year, my mom and I would bake sugar cookies, spritz, dandies (a pecan shortbread dipped in powdered sugar) and a chocolate addition of sorts that varied year to year. The spritz and sugar cookies were always a constant. Such a constant that my cousin, Elizabeth, would eagerly await her Christmas plate every year and already be munching a cookie before the plate was fully in her hands. (Can you blame her?) I thought I’d share a holiday favorite — our Sugar Cookies and hope that your holidays are also filled with merriment, good fortune and cheer!

Ingredients (bakes about 6 dozen cookies).

For the Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 c margarine (or unsalted butter) +
  • 1  sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 4 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • Extra flour
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters of choice*

* NOTE: we usually do a tree, Santa boot, star, angel and whatever else floats our fancy; this year we did mittens and hearts to make it easier on frosting and baking.

For the Frosting:

  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 2 T skim milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/4 c margarine (or unsalted butter) +
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • Food coloring of choice
  • Sprinkles and decorative sugar of choice

+ NOTE: you can use butter, but the cookies will spread out more baking and will be harder to retain their shape and the frosting will be more of  a liquid than a solid.

Directions.

For the Cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients (butter through sour cream) and beat well until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine, combine dry ingredients (flour through baking powder) and mix well.
  3. Slowly combine dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well so all dry ingredients are gone and thick batter has formed. Cover and chill dough for at least 2-3 hours.
  4. Section off a quarter of the chilled dough and place onto a flat, well-floured surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour.
  5. With a floured rolling pin (with your hand, just lightly cover the rolling pin surface with flour), start in the middle of the dough and roll out until the dough is about 1/4″ thick.
    1. TIPS: Form a large ball with the dough and start rolling in the middle of the dough.
    2. Make sure to alternate the directions you roll out the dough. For example, do strokes toward you and then away from you; rotate the dough and repeat.
    3. Keep an even “pressure” as you roll. Use the same amount of force pushing down on the dough as you roll out.
  6. Once the dough is rolled out, dip your cookie cutter in flour and cut out cookies. Remove excess dough and carefully place cut-outs on a cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min or until firm and barely beginning to brown.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack.

For the Frosting:

  1. Once cookies have completely cooled (this can even be the next day), mix frosting ingredients — powdered sugar through vanilla extract.
  2. Section off frosting and add food coloring of choice. Mix well so color is evenly distributed throughout the frosting.
  3. Using a butter knife, frost cookies and decorate immediately with sprinkles and decorative sugar before the frosting sets.
  4. Let frosting harden before storing. Use a sheet of wax paper between each cookie layer to preserve the frosting. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.
  5. Enjoy!!

Recipe for “Buttercream Frosting” from Better Home & Gardens Cook Book (published 1951) and the cookie recipe is my great-grandmother’s.

Sugar Cookies

See the mitten and heart cut-put sugar cookies pictured with spritz & dipped pretzels.

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