Monday, December 24, 2012

Baking Christmas Cookies

My mom baked cookies with me and Mitchell, yesterday. Baking cookies together is something my mom and I have done for as long as I can remember. This year, we made sugar cookies, Gingerbread Boys, and Santa Surprises. The Santa Surprises are basically a piece of Snickers bar wrapped in peanut butter cookie dough. After baking, they get drizzled with Dove chocolate. They're awesomely decadent. Here are some pictures of cutting the Gingerbread Boys.

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

The sugar cookie recipe we use is one that my mom got on a label of a new cookie sheet in 1964, when she and my dad had their first Christmas together. I think it makes the best sugar cookies in the whole world.

Christmas Cookies

Of course, for me, these evoke memories of childhood Christmases. Even allowing for that, and attempting to be impartial, they seem terrific. Given the source and age of the recipe, I imagine I'm unbound by copyright limitations in sharing this recipe:

Mom's Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups sifted flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus milk to make 1/3 cup
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into bowl. Add oil. Blend well with fork or pastry blender. Mixture will appear dry. In second bowl, beat sugar, vanilla, and egg mixture. Add second mixture with first mixture, then chill at least one hour. (I usually chill it overnight, if possible.) Roll out on a floured board and cut as desired. Bake in 400 degree oven about nine minutes, until edges are just beginning to brown. Remove to cooling racks. Once completely cool, decorate with icing and sprinkles. The original recipe says it makes 3 dozen small cookies, but it should have said "very small!" We used to make 4-6 times the recipe. These days, I double it.

For icing, not part of the original recipe, we start with confectioners sugar. I used half a large bag for a double batch of sugar cookies and a double batch of Gingerbread Boys, and it worked out exactly right. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until it seems the right consistency. For the half bag of sugar, I ended up using around fifteen tablespoons. Then, the most important part to get these cookies to taste just right: Add a few drops of almond extract to the frosting.

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

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