’Tis the season to be merry—and so very merry your taste buds will be when you indulge in these sweet seasonal treats. Preheat your ovens and get out your wooden spoons — there’s no time like the present to start your holiday baking with these 3 Christmas cookie recipes.
Stephanie’s Seriously Gratifying Gingerbread Men Cookies
I love the rich spiciness of gingerbread cookies teamed with their traditional shape. These cookies are pretty low maintenance and stay soft for a few days in a container. Leave them undecorated so the wee-est of guests can have fun with a bit of icing and sprinkles before they start munching.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on un-greased baking sheets.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to5 days.
Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com
Erin’s Scrumptious Whipped Shortbread
With only four ingredients (and they can be made with only three if you can believe it!), these cookies really shine on the holiday dessert tray. They melt in your mouth and make you smile (the secret is in the beating).
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream butter and sugar, add flour and beat for 10 minutes.
- Drop from a small spoon onto a cookie sheet. Add one chocolate chunk to each cookie.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes , until bottoms are lightly browned. Makes about 3 dozen small cookies. This recipe doubles well if you need more.
Recipe adapted from The Complete Best of Bridge, Volume 1
Kathy’s Beautiful and Delicious Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies
When cookies are as pretty as tree ornaments and as tasty as a festive dessert, you have to be pleased with your baking skills. These cookies are pretty simple to make, don’t take a huge amount of effort to decorate and are beautiful to set out on a dessert tray. Get your kids to help decorate if they want, or save the decorating for all the kids who come for dinner. Icing and cookies keep kids busy long enough for the adults to have coffee.
- 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cold
- 1 egg
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.
- The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.
- On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4″ thick sheet, and cut into desired shapes. Place shapes on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. Place entire baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes (this step is important in helping the cookies keep their shapes nice and clean). Remove and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until edges are just barely starting to turn golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely prior to decorating. Makes about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies.
Royal Icing Ingredients
Will ice 2-3 dozen 3.5″ cookies in 2 colours but can be doubled
- 4 tablespoons meringue powder
- a scant 1/2 cup water
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon light corn syrupp
- a few drops clear vanilla (or other flavour) extract (optional)
Royal Icing Directions
- Combine meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy.
- Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)
- Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. (the corn syrup helps keep the icing shiny.)
- Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form (you should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings. This “stiff” icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called “flooding.”