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.
For the Cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out baking sheets.
- 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.
- 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.
- Section off a quarter of the chilled dough and place onto a flat, well-floured surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour.
- 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.
- TIPS: Form a large ball with the dough and start rolling in the middle of the dough.
- 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.
- Keep an even “pressure” as you roll. Use the same amount of force pushing down on the dough as you roll out.
- 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.
- Let cool on a wire rack.
For the Frosting:
- Once cookies have completely cooled (this can even be the next day), mix frosting ingredients — powdered sugar through vanilla extract.
- Section off frosting and add food coloring of choice. Mix well so color is evenly distributed throughout the frosting.
- Using a butter knife, frost cookies and decorate immediately with sprinkles and decorative sugar before the frosting sets.
- 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.