Posted by: Hannah | 12/12/2011

The Best Christmas Sugar Cookies, Ever

As vouched for by Hubs, who claims the sugar cookies were the first thing that broke through his decades-long Grinchishness and placed him on the path to actually not detesting the holidays from start to finish.

I make a batch of these every year – just one batch, because they are a little finicky and time-consuming. But oh my goodness, if angels were made out of cookies this is what these would taste like. Be warned – follow the recipe exactly. These are not forgiving, these cookies. Not even a little.

Best Christmas Sugar Cookies

2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (note: DO NOT melt the butter in the microwave; just leave it out of the fridge for a few hours until it’s nice and soft)

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl, sift 2 cups of flour with baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter & sugar on low speed until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing with a spoon or spatula – not the mixer – until all dry ingredients have been added. Flour your hands lightly and continue mixing by hand until the dough is well-combined, with a smooth texture. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it is sticky, add extra flour a tablespoon at a time.

Once the dough is mixed, form into four equal-sized balls. Flatten each into a disk about 3/4 inch thick. Wrap well in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight (up to three days in the fridge is fine).

When you’re ready to bake, bring out the dough and let it stand at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes. Roll between layers of parchment paper to 1/4 inch thick, and cut into shapes. Arrange the shapes on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. They can be fairly close together because if you’ve done everything right, they won’t spread much. Sprinkle with red & green sugar and pop back into the fridge for five minutes or so right before baking.

Bake on the middle rack at 325F until slightly underdone – this is about seven minutes in my oven but it varies, so watch them carefully. At our house we prefer a softer, slightly chewy cookie, so we take them out when they are just a touch underdone; they firm up nicely as they cool and you’re left with the perfect cookie texture. If you like a more crispy cookie, bake until the edges turn lightly golden brown.

***

I mixed up the dough with four preschoolers today; it took about a half hour from start to finish, so not bad. Actually baking the things takes a while, just because of all the rolling and cutting and sprinkling and chilling. If at any point during your baking odyssey the dough begins to stick, pop it back in the fridge for a few minutes to re-chill. There is so much butter in these cookies that if they get too warm they become very sticky and hard to handle.

These are fabulous with tea, coffee, eggnog, or milk. They made great cookies to leave out for Santa (if there are any left by then!) Although they aren’t a super kid-friendly effort, my kids like to help sprinkle the sugar and I imagine this year Harry won’t have much trouble cutting out shapes by himself.

Enjoy!

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Responses

  1. These are the BEST sugar cookies ever! They are so good they make grown men (well me anyway) cry, dogs howl, and children beg for more.
    Cheers ~ Michael

  2. […] made my annual this-is-the-only-batch-you’re-getting Best Christmas Sugar Cookies, Ever on Sunday night. They are disappearing at a gratifying but alarming rate. I think I’ll have […]

  3. […] away from them; and an always-too-large-for-the-space Christmas tree. I’ve baked one batch of The Best Christmas Cookies Ever but they’ve already been eaten so I’m under pressure to bake more. I’m still […]

  4. […] during this month. For me, my restorative moments usually involve a solitary cup of tea and a sugar cookie (or two). I keep a bottle of Baileys on hand and have it at my elbow when I wrap gifts; always at […]


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