Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Cookies

Gather your butter! It’s time to make cookies. First up... butter cookies. I like to make the decorated cut-out, butter cookies first. They can be sealed in airtight containers and wait patiently in the freezer for weeks before the holidays, then thawed and decorated days before they’re eaten.


I love this recipe, cause it’s versatile. You can add a little flavoring, put the dough through a cookie press, or give it a different shape, and voila! A new cookie is born from the same dough!



Get creative when decorating. I like to cover the cookies with a layer of frosting, let it set for several hours, pipe on a design and sprinkle with sanding sugar. That way the sugar sparkles stick to the piped on frosting and your design really stands out.


Butter Cookie Dough
This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies
Two dozen snowflakes, two dozen spritz

2 Cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 Cups sugar
2 Large eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla
2 Teaspoons salt 
5 Cups all-purpose flour

Cream the butter and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and salt. Mix on medium speed until they’re combined. With the mixer on low speed, add flour in two batches, and mix until it’s mixed well. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Place each section on a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to a week.

When you are ready to bake:
Snowflakes - Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out one or two disks of dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using your choice of snowflake cookie cutter (I like the 3-inch one), cut out shapes and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Gather scraps together, and continue to roll out more cookies. Chill for about 10-15 minutes. Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes, until they are golden brown around the edges. Let cool on baking sheets for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. You can then store them in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for several months.

Spritz - Preheat oven to 350°. To the basic sugar dough add a Tablespoon of orange zest. Transfer dough to a cookie press and pipe shapes onto greased baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar(s). Chill for about 10-15 minutes. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges are light brown.

These recipes make enough to frost two dozen cookies, or half of the above recipe. (Remember, you’re going to sprinkle the Spritz cookies with Sanding sugar)


For spreading:
In a bowl, stir until smooth:
3 Cups powdered sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/4 Cup water
To tint, stir in food coloring, a teeny tiny bit at a time. A little goes a long way.

For piping:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespoons water
Tint with a little food coloring. The icing needs to be stiff enough to hold a line when piped through a pastry bag fitted with an 1/8-inch tip. If it’s too thick, add a little water; if it’s too thin, add a little powdered sugar.


Sharon said...

These cookies look so good, Cindy!

Cindy said...

Thank you Sharon! Very happy holiday season to you!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Beautiful cookies, Cindy. The snowflakes are so festive and my mom used to make spritz cookies every single year. Love them both. The aprons in your previous post are great, especially the one with the Eiffel Towers. Happy holiday to you and your family.