It’s almost time to start baking cookies. If you are feeling overwhelmed and behind on your Christmas preparations, don’t worry. Cookies should be eaten within five to seven days after they are baked. There is still plenty of time to make cookies for Santa and all the elves in your life.
My Favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe Makes about 2 dozen
It’s not Christmas without cut-out sugar cookies. We always leave them under the tree for Santa!
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened 1 ¼ teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel 1 ¼ teaspoons grated fresh orange peel ½ cup granulated sugar ¼ cup powdered sugar 1 large egg In a medium bowl, place flour, baking powder, and salt and sift ingredients together to combine. In a large bowl, place butter and lemon and orange peel. Using an electric mixer beat the butter mixture until light. Add granulated and powdered sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg and beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Using a spoon, stir until dough forms. Divide the dough into thirds and form each third into a ball. Flatten each ball into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. Flour for flouring work surface
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously flour a work surface and rolling pin. Only work with 1 disk at a time. Remove disk from the refrigerator and place on a work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out cookies. Transfer cookies to an ungreased baking sheet, placing them about 1-inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges turn golden. If you use small cookie cutters, check sooner. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with frosting or glaze if desired. Continue this process with remaining 2 disks. If you have leftover dough, combine the scraps and shape into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about 30 minutes. Roll out the dough, cut cookies, and bake. For glazed cookies: 2 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla Milk (about 3 to 4 tablespoons) or to desired consistency Assorted decorations In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar and vanilla. Add milk until desired consistency is reached. Using a pastry brush, brush glaze over cooled cookies. The glaze will harden in 20 to 30 minutes so work quickly. Sprinkle cookies with colored sugars or decorations. For iced cookies: ¼ cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional) 6 to 8 cups powdered sugar In a large bowl, place milk and vanilla and stir to combine. Add 5 cups powdered sugar and whisk. Gradually add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until icing is stiff enough to pipe or spread. (It should have the same consistency as sour cream.) Transfer ⅔ cup icing to a small bowl and reserve for white icing. Divide remaining icing into 2 bowls. Add drops of desired food coloring into each bowl, coloring icing to desired shade. If needed, add more powdered sugar to reach desired thickness. For decorations: Assorted food colorings Colored sugars Colored or chocolate sprinkles Button candies Mini semisweet baking chips Decorations of your choice Use wet icing as glue. Dip mini semisweet baking chips or other decorations into icing and place on the cookie. Decorated cookies should stand for 2 hours to allow icing to set. To pipe icing: Fit a standard pastry bags with a ⅟16th inch plain tip. Stand pastry bag in a cup. Fold back the top of the bag and spoon 1 color of icing into the bag. Lift bag out of the cup and twist the top of the bag level with the icing, closing the bag securely. Pipe icing as desired onto cookies. Before icing sets, sprinkle with decorations. Tips on storing: When stored in an airtight container at room temperature, sugar cookies should be eaten within 1 week of baking. Tips on freezing: Undecorated, baked sugar cookies can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Place them in a reusable or freezer bag. Press as much air out of the bag as possible. Seal tightly. Making the dough ahead: Prepared dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 days. It is best to let the dough soften slightly before rolling it out.
Peanut Butter Crinkles Makes about 6 dozen
A good friend and former neighbor, Marietta Nelson, first introduced me to this cookie. The neighborhood we lived in had a cookie exchange every year, and Marietta brought a big tray of Peanut Butter Crinkles. Since then, I make a batch every Christmas. They are delicious!
1 cup butter, softened 1 cup creamy peanut butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup light brown sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 ½ cups un-sifted, all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt Sugar for coating cookies 60 Hershey’s® kisses Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, place butter, peanut butter, granulated and brown sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, cream together ingredients at a medium speed.
In a medium bowl, place flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine thoroughly. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture until well combined. Using a teaspoon, shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Place about ½ cup sugar on a plate. Roll each ball in the sugar and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet to allow for expansion. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
Remove from the oven and immediately press Hershey’s kisses into the cookies. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.
Tips on storing: When stored in an airtight container at room temperature, these cookies should stay fresh for about five days.
White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut and Macadamia Nuts Makes about 3 dozen cookies
My family’s favorite cookie, bar none! 2 ½ cups un-sifted, all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, softened ⅔ cup granulated sugar ⅔ cup firmly-packed light brown sugar 1 large egg, lightly beaten 3 tablespoons milk 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract 1 ½ cups Nestle’s® white chocolate chips 1 cup sweetened coconut, shredded 1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg, milk, and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat thoroughly, until a smooth cookie dough is formed. Stir in white chocolate chips, coconut, and macadamia nuts by hand. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between cookies for expansion. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to sit 1 minute on the sheet and then remove to a rack to cool completely. Tips on storing: Drop cookies will keep about 1 week in an airtight container at room temperature.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates