like many of you, one of our favorite holiday activities is making cookies. they are the perfect way to take a step back from the crowds, noise, and spending, and remember what the season is really about- being thankful for our friends and family, and enjoying holiday magic in it’s most simple and lovely form. making cookies is relaxing and fun, and makes one of the most thoughtful gifts one can give- and it’s budget-friendly, to boot! and of course it warms the house up, filling the air with the scent of buttery, sugary goodness. of course, you always have to make an extra-big batch, so you can steal some when they are fresh from the oven. is there any better way to eat them?
this year, we went for a traditional heart cutout for all of our christmas cookies. it’s simple and beautiful, and shows our friends and family how much they mean to us. we like the simple goodness of a fresh, homemade sugar cookie, and usually choose to skip icing, instead going for a simple smattering of colorful sugars. we love the sparkle of those sugar crystals, and for this batch we did a mix of cheerful blues and pinks!
here’s our recipe, taken from our trusty Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book. it is a simple and delicious recipe, with an easy-to-work dough and a perfectly soft and chewy texture.
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tablespoons baking powder
** preheat oven to 350 degrees F **
1. beat together butter and shortening
2. beat in sugar
3. beat in vanilla and egg
4. in a separate bowl, beat together flour, baking powder, and salt
5. beat flour mixture into butter mixture until just combined
now that you have the dough, it’s almost time for the fun part! first, though, put the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. this will help when you start to cut out your shapes (trust us, it’s worth the wait)
between 2 sheets of wax paper, roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. remove the top sheet and make your cutouts! we find it easiest to “stamp” all of your shapes, then remove the extra dough from around the cookies before carefully lifting them off and onto your cookie sheet. after arranging on the cookie sheet, go to town with your sugars or sprinkles to finish your miniature works of art. then bake each batch for a scant 6-7 minutes (until the edges just start to brown) for perfectly baked goodies!
look how beautifully they turned out! we like to arrange them on pretty vintage plates like this one, wrapped in wax paper then tied with a pretty bow. or if they need to travel, we love to package them up in fun holiday boxes, tins, and containers. enjoy!