Christmas Cookies Galore: Tried and True Frosted Sugar Cookies

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Happy holidays to the foodie blogosphere! The past few days  have been filled with family, lots of food, presents, BAKING and some much needed down time.  In my time off school, I’ve [obviously] been tearing apart the internet for recipes, but I’ve also been catching up on sleep, playing video games and watching TV.   I don’t think I will get to have these sorts of breaks once I graduate and get a job… so, I am very grateful for such a relaxing time!

In case any of you are wondering what the Princess in the Kitchen did in terms of Christmas cookies this year… you’re in the right place.  My mom and I fell into a holiday frenzy on the 23rd trying to prepare food and desserts for the celebrations to come.  We ended up making traditional frosted sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies and salted caramel pretzel bark.
Sugar Cookies 1

Sugar cookies are just a Christmastime staple in my family.  My dad grew up with basic, frosted sugar cookies at Christmas so my mom has always felt obligated to keep the tradition alive for him.   She is the master recipe hoarder (my food/recipe/cooking obsession is just a product of the gene pool), and she ended up finding a great recipe from Crumbly Cookie.  The author, Bridget tried five different recipes and chose her favorite… and my family agrees with her choice!

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I personally prefer soft and chewy sugar cookies (definitely not crunchy or too flour-y tasting) with a butter-y almond-y flavor.  These cookies are all of the above… and they hold their shape quite well!

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Santa even ate all of his sugar cookies.  Mmm, mmm… tastes like Christmas!

Roll-Out Sugar Cookies

2 1/2 cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounce) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

In a medium bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. In a one-cup measuring cup, lightly beat the egg with the extracts.

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the butter and salt on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer running, gradually pour in the sugar; add the lemon zest. Beat on medium until fluffy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, pour egg mixture and continue beating until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour and mix just until evenly blended.

Lightly knead the dough to form a ball, press it into a 1-inch thick disk a wrap tight in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Adjust a rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375F. If you’ve chilled the dough overnight, it’ll need to sit at room temperature for a half an hour or so to soften slightly. On a very lightly floured sheet of wax paper with a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the dough, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut cookies using a floured cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps, always using as little flour as necessary. (TIP: Here, I used white sugar instead of flour.)

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 5-9 minutes, until they no longer look wet on top. The baking time will depend on the size of the cookies you’ve cut. You don’t want the bottoms to be browned, except for maybe just a bit on the edges. Let the cookies rest for a couple minutes on the sheets before transferring them to cooling racks to finish cooling. Decorate as desired.

Recipe from Crumbly Cookie

Quick Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup (16 tablespoons/2 sticks) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (I subbed eggnog here!)

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Recipe from Food Network

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This is my hilariously animated brother, John, who is still learning to smile properly.

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