Recipes for the Perfect Holiday Cookies
Photo by Carli Wentworth
In All Of My Years Of Holiday Baking, I Have Prepared Literally Hundreds Of Cookies.
I buy all of the cookie magazines that boast, “The best holiday cookie you will ever make!” But I always come back to the original cookie …
the one I learned to make in my mother’s kitchen as a small child.
It’s still the best tasting, perfect for cutting into shapes and the most versatile.This cookie can be slathered with jam, made into a sandwich cookie or frosted. Quite simply, it’s the perfect holiday cookie.
Wishing everyone a blessed and happy holiday season …
make a memory and go bake some cookies!
Here are a few tricks to ensure optimum success when working with this dough.
• Once the cookie dough is prepared, divide it into thirds and flatten into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours before using.
• When working with the dough, always remember to return the unused portion back to the fridge or freezer to chill until you are ready to roll out again. This keeps the cookie shapes from spreading when baking.
• This dough freezes beautifully! Just wrap in plastic wrap and place the disks in a Ziploc bag and freeze. Remove from the freezer and allow to thaw then prepare as normal.
• Only use unsalted butter. Not margarine. Not salted butter. Do not skimp!
• Store baked cookies in an airtight container.
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Ultimate Sugar Cookie Dough
1 c unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c sugar
1 t vanilla paste
1 t lemon extract
1 t salt
2 T baking powder
5 c all purpose flour
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for two minutes or until fluffy. Add in the eggs, vanilla paste and lemon extract, mixing well. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the salt, baking powder and flour. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour mix to the wet ingredients, cup by cup, until well combined. Divide the dough into thirds and flatten into disks. Wrap each dough disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before baking.
Traditional Cut Out Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat liner. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies and bake for 8-9 minutes or until slightly browned. Important: return unused dough to the freezer between batches! Remove from the oven and cool all cookies on a parchment lined counter. Frost with your favorite royal or buttercream frosting. Decorate with candies, sprinkles or whatever you fancy!
Linzer Cookies: Cut out cookies using a Linzer cookie cutter. Bake for 7-8 minutes and cool as above. Spread the non-cut out cookie with the jam of your choice (I love apricot and strawberry.) Top with cut cookie and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Fudgy Sandwich Cookies: Cut out cookies using whatever shape you desire. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow cookies to cool and then frost with your favorite fudge frosting. (During the holidays I usually save time and buy double fudge frosting, but homemade is always best!)