Christmas Cookies: A Wonderful Family Tradition

Dec 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

There are many wonderful things about the holidays. One of my favorite parts are the cookies. Making cookies as a family is a great way for the whole family to participate in an activity together on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. It’s also a fantastic tradition to start and one that your family can look forward to each year.

My mother made dozens upon dozens of cookies for Christmas every year. She would finish her baking spree the day before Christmas Eve. Sometimes she was nervous and we were banned from the kitchen so she could devote her full attention to the task of baking; her recipes were precious and we could not be bothering her when she was in the thick of preparing some of the more complex recipes. However, the sugar cookies were all ours. She allowed us to roll them out, cut them in shapes to our fancy, and sprinkle them with a wide variety of sparkly sugar confections. They were always delicate and crunchy. “The secret to delicious pastry is to not overwork the dough, girls,” she would say. I remember her words to this day and I repeat them to my girls, who I hope will repeat them to their girls, and so on.

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MAKES ABOUT 24 COOKIES

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Colored sugar crystals or candy sprinkles

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until well combined. Wrap the dough in a clean kitchen towel or parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Butter baking sheets.

Roll out one-third of the dough to about 1/8 inch thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Sprinkle the cookies generously with colored sugar crystals or candy sprinkles and transfer the shapes to the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, or until firm in the centers, but not browned. Remove the cookies from the sheets with a wide spatula and cool on wire racks. Repeat with the remaining dough. Serve immediately on a festive tray or store the cookies in a tin. They can be stored in a cool dark place for up to one week.

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Don’t forget to put out some of these delicious cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve!