Christmas cookies are a popular holiday tradition. l Most families tend to buy tubes of sugar cookie dough but as prices rise many families are feeling the pinch at the grocery store and looking for ways to save on groceries. One such way is to buy basic ingredients like flour and sugar in bulk and start making more things from scratch. This simple sugar cookie recipe is perfect for decorating Christmas cookies with your family.
These sugar cookies are easy to make so you have more time for the fun part. Decorating while you save money over buying the dough pre-made at the grocery store. Remember that this like most other recipes made from scratch the best way to save is to buy the ingredients in bulk or on sale and avoid paying full price for smaller packages.
What you need
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
How to make traditional Christmas sugar cookies
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. This step is crucial for achieving the perfect texture in your sugar cookies.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then, stir in the vanilla extract to infuse the dough with a rich and aromatic flavor.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add this dry mixture to the wet ingredients, ensuring thorough mixing.
Form the cookie dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Chilling the dough not only enhances the flavor but also makes it easier to roll out and cut into festive shapes.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use your favorite holiday cookie cutters to create festive shapes.
Place the cut-out cookies onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden. Be cautious not to overbake to keep that perfect chewy texture.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Once completely cooled, unleash your creativity by decorating with royal icing, sprinkles, or colored sugars.
Decorating traditional Christmas sugar cookies
Baking and decorating Christmas sugar cookies is not just a culinary adventure; it’s an opportunity to create lasting memories with loved ones. Gather around the kitchen table, share stories, and let the joy of the season infuse every moment.
Decorating sugar cookies is a delightful and creative process that adds a festive touch to these classic treats. Here are some tips to help you achieve beautifully decorated sugar cookies:
Start with the Right Consistency of Icing: Whether you’re using royal icing, glaze, or buttercream, make sure it has the right consistency. For outlining, the icing should be thicker, while for flooding or filling, it should be thinner. Adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar to thicken or a bit of liquid (like milk or water) to thin.
Use Piping Bags or Squeeze Bottles: Piping bags or squeeze bottles make it easier to control the flow of icing and create intricate designs. Use different tips for various effects, such as outlining with a smaller tip and flooding with a larger one.
Practice Piping Techniques: Before decorating your actual cookies, practice your piping techniques on a piece of parchment paper or a spare cookie. This allows you to get a feel for the consistency of the icing and refine your skills before working on the final product.
Allow Cookies to Cool Completely: Ensure that your sugar cookies are completely cooled before decorating. Warm cookies can cause the icing to melt or become runny, affecting the overall appearance of your decorations.
Layering Colors: If you’re using multiple colors, allow each layer to dry before adding the next one. This prevents colors from bleeding into each other and helps maintain crisp, defined lines.
Add Detail with Edible Markers: Edible markers are a great tool for adding fine details, outlining, or writing on cookies. They provide precision and allow for more intricate designs.
Incorporate Sprinkles and Edible Decorations: Sprinkles, edible pearls, and other decorations can add texture and visual appeal to your cookies. Apply them while the icing is still wet to ensure they adhere properly.
Consider Stencils or Templates: Stencils or templates can help you create uniform designs on your cookies. Place the stencil over the cookie and either sprinkle powdered sugar or use an airbrush to create intricate patterns.
Experiment with Texture: Use different tools to create texture in your icing, such as toothpicks, spatulas, or combs. These can add visual interest and depth to your designs.
Let Icing Set Before Stacking: Allow the icing to set completely before stacking or storing decorated cookies. This prevents smudging and maintains the integrity of your designs.
Embrace Imperfections: Remember that homemade cookies are meant to be unique and charming. Embrace imperfections, and don’t be afraid to experiment with your decorating style.
Have Fun and Be Creative: Most importantly, have fun with the process! Decorating sugar cookies is a creative and enjoyable activity, so let your imagination run wild and express your holiday spirit through your edible masterpieces.
As you embark on this delightful journey of baking Christmas sugar cookies, remember that the true magic lies not just in the taste of these treats but in the shared moments and traditions they represent. From our kitchen to yours, may this classic sugar cookie recipe bring warmth, happiness, and the spirit of the season to your holiday celebrations. Happy baking!