Christmas cookies… where do I begin? There are so many different recipes, and they’re all so yummy! Some of my favorites are pizzelles, snowballs, 3-color cookies, and cutouts. Actually, my list can go on and on. Today we’re going to talk about the tradition of cutout cookies.
My mom started making cutout cookies with me when I was very young. I remember how much fun it was to bake cookies each year, and I think more than the end product I loved the experience of making cookies with my mom. Mixing the dough, rolling it out, carefully choosing which cutters to use, baking the cookies, and finally frosting and decorating the cookies. This year I was so excited to finally share this tradition with my daughter!
One year, we were all at Nana’s for Christmas Eve, as we were every year. She proceeded to tell us that she remembered baking the cookies before she went to bed, but she woke up in the morning and they were frosted! She asked Papa and Aunt Laura if they had frosted the cookies, and of course they denied it. From then on, we always teased Nana about the frosted cookie mystery.
We’ve experimented with several different cutout cookie recipes, and I have found this one to be the best. They have great flavor, and are still soft after baked. The trick though, is not to roll them out too thin. Nana always used Domino sugar to make the frosting (I watched her once – clearly a different year then the one discussed above). Do you have any funny memories of your childhood traditions? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
Cutout Sugar Cookies
3/4 C shortening
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp each baking powder and salt
Mix shortening, sugar, eggs and lemon extract thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Blend into wet ingredients. Chill at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough out on a slightly floured surface. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters for the season. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet 6-8 minutes or until delicately golden. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.
Once completely cooled, if desired, mix up a batch of frosting, frost and decorate cookies.