Tobins' Tastes: Traditional Cut Out Christmas Sugar Cookies

Monday, December 3, 2012

Traditional Cut Out Christmas Sugar Cookies

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I have always loved baking. Throughout college and in my first year after graduation I mostly stuck to family favorites like Gooey Bars or Magic Cookie Bars. It wasn't until Justin started EMT school in 2007 that I really got into baking outside of the family recipe book.

It all started one day when Justin had a training ride along with a local fire department and I was visiting Orlando for the weekend as I often did. I had 8 hours to kill and with none of our other friends in town for the weekend, I ended up at Super Target.

Super Target did exactly what Super Target's are designed to do and somehow I got sucked in by a baking display and ended up buying excessive amounts of fall baking supplies. Cookie cutters, sprinkles, food coloring and almond extract all found their way into my cart.

I vaguely remembered Justin mentioning once upon a time that he really liked sugar cookies with almond icing so I got to Googling and found a few different recipes. Based on the limited ingredients Justin and his college housemates had on hand, I combined the recipes to create my own version of sugar cut out cookies with an almond icing.

The cookies were a huge success with both Justin and his roommates.  So I tweaked the recipe and also started making a vanilla version of the icing as well. Then I made them for my family for Christmas that year and just like that my signature cookie was born.

I have made these for Easter, Baby Showers, Bridal Showers, Football Parties, Graduations, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas. My family requested them for every event for about 3 straight years.

Then I started this blog.

And all food bloggers know, you can't just make your favorite five recipes anymore. You have to mix it up. You have to think outside the box. You are always chasing the newest, funnest, yummiest, most Pinterestry stuff or else no one will read your blog except your mom. And all my mom keeps asking me is, "When are you making me sugar cookies again?"

So for Thanksgiving this year I gave in and made her sugar cookies. Which as food bloggers also know means they were a holiday ahead hence the Christmas themed cookies at Thanksgiving dinner.

But I had to jazz them up a little bit. So along with the traditional almond iced stars and vanilla iced stockings, I added the insanely good White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Candy Cane Cookies. Because everyone knows that recipes with insanely long names are very popular on Pinterest right now. And guess what? My family actually requested that I add them to the regular flavors when I make these all again for real Christmas.

And the best news? My mom can stop calling me a baking sellout who abandons her tried and true recipes for her blog. You're welcome, Mom.

Traditional Cut Out Sugar Cookies
  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour  
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • Powered Sugar
  • Vanilla and/or almond extract
  • Milk
  • Food Coloring
1.) In a bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. In another bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy and light. 
2.) Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time to make a stiff dough. 
3.) Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll out a portion of cookie dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters. 
4.) Place on lightly greased or nonstick cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes depending on your oven or until lightly browned on the edges. Let them cool completely before you try removing them from the baking tray. 

5.) For the icing, mix powered sugar and just enough milk to make a paste. Add food coloring and flavoring as desired. Warning: a little bit of extract goes a long way. Start out small and work your way up to more taste.

6.) I dip the cookie in the icing and then use an offset spatula to scrap of the excess icing and created a smooth look. Decorate while the icing is still wet.

7.) For the M&M candy canes I used these delicious holiday themed White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's and I just pressed them into the wet icing and let them set while the icing hardened. 

Side note: The icing should dry enough to allow the cookies to be stacked for storage or transportation but I always layer them with wax paper to keep them from sticking. Store in an airtight container and share with your cookie obsessed family and friends : )

Make sure you stop by this week's Mealtime Monday and link up any amazing recipes you have been working on lately.

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