Written by Kayla Hoffman (Features Writer)
Something festive that a lot of families tend to do around the holidays is decorating cookies. Whether or not the cookies are left for Santa or eaten for dessert, we can all agree that the process of decorating them can be super fun as well as baking the cookies themselves.
When it comes to sugar cookies, the possibilities are endless. You can make all sorts of different shapes, sizes, sprinkles, or frosting. This recipe is amazing because they’re soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. They hold this texture for many days after baking and they even freeze nicely. For these cookies, it is best recommended that you use a mixer for the best possible results. Without any more hesitation, let’s begin going over what you’ll need for these festive treats.
→ Measurement tools: cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons
→ 2 Medium-sized bowl
→ mixer with a paddle attachment
→ Parchment paper
→ rolling pin or anything that can be used to spread out and flatten dough.
→ baking sheet
→ wire rack for cooling (recommended but not technically necessary)
Sugar Cookie Dough:
→ 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
→ ½ teaspoon of baking powder
→ ¼ teaspoon of salt
→ ¾ cups granulated sugar
→ ¾ unsalted butter room temperature
→ 1 large egg, also room temperature
→ 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
→ ¼ or ½ teaspoon of almond extract (optional but suggested for great flavor)
Royal Icing (with meringue powder)
→ 4 cups of confectioners sugar, sifted
→ 3 tablespoons of meringue powder
→ 9-10 tablespoons of room temperature water
Royal Icing (without meringue powder)
→ 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
→ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
→ 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
To begin the cookies, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside for later use. Next, get out your mixer with a paddle attachment and beat the sugar and butter until it’s creamy. You’ll want to combine the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract (if you’re using this) in a separate bowl. Mix all of this together once finished mixing everything else and be sure to scrape the sides as you do so. The dough will be relatively soft to touch but if it’s too soft or sticky for rolling, add about a tablespoon of flour and remix.
Next you’ll want to lightly flour the following: two pieces of parchment paper, a surface to roll your dough out on, and the rolling pin itself. The dough can be rolled out in any shape, just as long as it’s about ¼ inch thick. Place one on the parchment paper, cover with another piece of parchment and place the second piece of rolled out dough on top. Take these and cover with plastic wrap or tin foil and place in the fridge and let it set for at least 1-2 hours or up to 2 days.
Once chilled, preheat your oven to 350℉ and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. While the oven is preheating, feel free to cut your cookies into desired shapes—this is the part where you can get festive. Some recommended shapes for the holidays can be stars, snowmen, christmas trees, reindeer, or you can even turn the typical circle into an ornament. Once the cookies are arranged, bake 11-12 minutes or until golden brown.
After the cookies are done baking, allow them to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack. If you do not have a wire rack, that’s okay, it’ll just take a little longer for them to cool to a desired temperature. You want them not too hot so that the icing melts. Once cooled feel free to decorate as you please! They’re also yummy enough to eat on their own, so if you’re not a particular fan of frosting, you can keep them bare. When it comes to decorating don’t worry about the end result, just focus on the process, that’s the fun part about all of this!
Thanksgiving was different with Covid-19, and there’s no doubt that the holidays will be too, but luckily, there are many traditions that can still be done! Stay safe and enjoy!