Decorating cookies has always been my favorite part about Christmas. Top five, at least.
Every year the whole family would squeeze in together at the table with paper plates, toothpicks, spoons, and about eight rolls of paper towels. My mom would set out the tupper of sugar cookies and a huge array of sprinkles and we would just go. to. town. They’d all start out reeeeeally intricately decorated and by the end of, oh say two hours, we’d be slopping on whatever frosting color was near us just to get through the last couple of cookies. The oddly shaped so-called “music note” was always the last picked to be decorated.
That’s kind of how it went last night.
I wanted to share my Grandma’s classic sugar cookie recipe with you in hopes that maybe you’d give them a try. Cover the kids (and your furniture) in plastic, pour the adults some Christmas “spirit”, and have fun! I promise, if you don’t already do this every year, it will absolutely become an instant tradition.
For the Cookies:
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened (but my Grandma always insisted that an extra bit of butter was completely necessary…like a tablespoon or so)
3 c. sifted flour (extra for rolling)
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
Using your stand mixer on a lower speed, mix the sugar and butter together until creamed. Crack in the two eggs, and continue beating until evenly mixed. Next, working at a medium speed, add in your dry ingredients a little at a time. At the end, the batter should be soft and lump-free. You really can’t over-beat this dough, so don’t worry too much about that.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for at least one hour.
Drink some eggnog.
Remove the batter and set aside as you liberally flour a board or countertop. Making sure that your rolling pin is floured too, roll out a chunk of the dough into a fairly thin sheet. Cut out as many shapes as you can using your favorite cookie cutters, and place them on a non-stick baking sheet. (PS, you don’t need to spray or grease the sheet as there is plennnnnty of butter in these cookies as it is). Add the excess batter back into the main bowl, grab another big handfull, roll that out, cut, and repeat until all the dough is used!
Bake each batch of cookies should bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until just turning golden around the edges. Keep in mind that the cooking time will change by a few minutes or so depending on how thick or thin you’ve rolled them.
Let them cool on a rack until room temperature – then they’re ready to decorate!
For the Frosting & Decorations:
1 large bag of powdered sugar
liquid food colorings
In a big bowl, mix a teensy tiny amount of water at a time into the powdered sugar. Seriously – for each cup you’ll only need about a tablespoon or so. You definitely don’t want the frosting too runny, or it won’t stay on the cookie!
Pour a bit of the frosting into four or five smaller bowls. Add a few drops of food coloring to each, and stir until you have the desired depth of color.
Grandma, the hummingbirds are for you…..and this martini, well that’s for me!