It’s not Christmas without Christmas Cut Out Cookies!
I feel like cut out sugar cookies are the quintessential Christmas treat. I look forward to making them every year, and this year I had two special “helpers.” Three if you count the baby sleeping in the corner (I do, it was very helpful). I have a hard time letting my kids help me in the kitchen because of the mess, mistakes, and general ‘yuck’ factor of the little hands that go in the dough, then in the mouth, then in the frosting, then in the hair (yeah, these cut out cookies are exclusively for our little family). However, I felt like this was a necessary Christmas memory for them, and they really enjoyed it. If you’re wondering about the broken gingerbread man leg and the oddly askew sprinkles, those are the work of the kids. I did end up frosting most of the cookies though since they decided it was more fun to eat frosting than use it on the cookies.
I used my grandma’s cut out cookie recipe for years, but it was a very crisp cookie and, alas, I prefer a soft one. I’ve tried several others over the years and I think I may have hit on the winner this time. Its not all that different from my grandmother’s recipe, but the extra sugar and baking powder give it a nice soft puff.
I did stick with the original frosting recipe from my grandma’s box. Add more milk and you have a glaze that I put on absolutely everything from cinnamon rolls to quick breads. I will literally bake something just to have an excuse to eat this frosting. I think my kids now feel the same way.
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These are the perfect soft sugar cookies for Christmas!
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 sticks butter, cold and cut into chunks
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2-4 tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter on low speed. Add the egg and vanilla and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
The dough should look crumbly. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and knead until soft and smooth. Roll the dough on a floured work surface to about 1/4" thick and cut into shapes. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
In a large bowl combine butter and powdered sugar using a hand mixer on low speed. Add vanilla and mix again on low. Scrape down the bowl and add the milk a few drops at a time until desired consistency is reached, mixing on medium low and scraping the bowl occasionally. Use immediately or divide and tint, then use to frost cooled cookies.
Adapted from Bake at 350