Thursday, September 24, 2009

Christmas Sugars

There is just something about baking sugar cookies at Christmastime with my mom and my sister that really signifies the season. We bake cookies every year on my sister's birthday, which is December 22, and then serve the cookies at family holiday events through the new year. (The photo above includes cookies that my sister decorated last year....I can't take credit!)

My mom sent me the recipe to include in my blog, and I think that you will really enjoy it! Why include these in September, you ask? Because these are also great at Halloween time (with a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter and orange and green sprinkles) and for Valentine's Day (with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and pink or red sprinkles). Enjoy!


Recipe Notes
This recipe was submitted by Alafair Kane and published in the 1968 Houston Junior League Cookbook. The ingredients that my mom uses are authentic to the recipe, but she has expanded and modified the preparation instructions.

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter (do not substitute margarine)
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour, spooned into a measuring cup and leveled with a knife
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt


1. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and egg.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, use a whisk to blend flour, baking soda, and salt. Still using the electric mixer, gradually add dry ingredients to the butter mixture.

3. Divide dough in half. Roll out each half between two pieces of wax paper to a thickness of approximately 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch.

4. Place sheets of dough (still between wax paper) into the refrigerator. Refrigerate 10 minutes or until firm. Keep sheets refrigerated until you are ready to cut out the cookies.

5. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove a sheet of dough from the refrigerator and remove the top sheet of wax paper.

6. Cut the dough into shapes. Use the same cookie cutter for all cookies on a single cookie sheet. This will ensure that the cookies brown evenly.

7. Use a spatula or icing knife to transfer cookies to parchment-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with colored sugar or sprinkles and bake.

8. The original recipe calls for a 375 degree oven and 10-12 minute baking time. My mom's works best at 350 degrees. The time will depend on shape and thickness, but generally 5-7 minutes works for her.

9. The smaller and thinner the cookie, the faster it will bake. The more irregular the size of the cookie, the faster it will bake.

10. Remove from oven when cookies are slightly brown around the edges. Slide the entire piece of parchment paper and cookies onto a cooling rack. The cookies will become crisp as they cool.

11. Makes 4 dozen small cookies or 21 large cookies.

Enjoy! We make these every year!

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