There’s nothing quite like baking to bring on the holiday spirit. Pulling out the mixer, turning on the oven, and cranking up the volume on the Michael Bublé Christmas album totally helps to set the mood for a good baking session. I come from a long line of pretty darn good bakers. Both my grandma and my mom always baked throughout the year. Cookies. Breads. Muffins. Cakes. All things that involved the magical ingredients of butter, sugar, and flour! And Christmas time was next level. The oven was always on, and a yummy assortment of cookies, squares and pastries was plated for the taking. My favorite recipe is my grandma’s sugar cookies. I have so many fond memories from my childhood baking with her. No wait, maybe I wasn’t baking, just taste testing… regardless there were cookies, and it was Christmas time and we always had so much fun!
Donned in our festive aprons, Brianna and I whipped up a batch of these scrumptious sugar cookies. Let me share some of our tips and tricks, as well as the kitchen tools and gadgets we use to ensure the best baking experience. Baking sugar cookies is somewhat a labor of love. Yes, they are time consuming, especially during the decorating stage, but such a delight in both presentation and taste. Sugar cookies are also versatile, and with endless options for shape and design, these treats can be tailored to any occasion. Hearts on Valentine’s Day, pumpkins for Halloween, you see where I’m going here. These are great cookie cutters for the Christmas season. I love the different shaped trees!
Sugar cookies are really a form of edible art. They are the perfect medium for icing and decorating. They hold their shape and have more of a shortbread consistency than a soft, chewy cookie. This recipe does not require any chilling so you can make the dough and go straight into the rolling and cutting. Need a good suggestion for a rolling pin that is both practical and gorgeous? Check out this French style marble rolling pin.
I love to decorate cookies, but let’s keep it real y’all, I’m not making those delicately piped cookies you see on Pinterest. Those cookies are Ah-mazing! But I do know a bit about piping an outline and flooding the interior of a cookie and how to blend and stack icing. It’s taken lots of practice and the help of meringue powder for stability of the icing and consistent coverage is important!
A well baked cookie truly depends on the cookie sheet. This bakeware is my go-to. It is important for air to penetrate around the cookie to ensure even baking.
As much as I love a warm cookie, all soft and gooey straight out of the oven, these guys need to be cooled completely before icing. After the icing has completely set, they can be stacked in layers separated with parchment paper and will keep fresh for 3 days. You can also toss them in the freezer to retain freshness for up to a month. These containers are great. But seriously, don’t count on needing them. These cookies are sure to be gobbled up by anyone within arm’s reach!
Looking for a unique gift idea? How about creating a package with your baked goods to add a personal touch to a gift? My mom creates baskets and includes Christmas cookies alongside homemade preserves and a bottle of wine. It is such a special gift that is truly appreciated and enjoyed by anyone who receive it.
I bake these cookies every Christmas and I always look forward to it. It conjures up memories of my childhood and how I enjoyed spending time with my grandma and my mom in the kitchen. And now that I’m a mother, I love it when my kids bake with me. I must admit that I always want the cookies to look a certain way (hello perfectionist!) but it’s still so fun to see the kids’ culinary creations!
Do you love baking during the holidays, or are you part of the much needed and very important taste testing team? Regardless of your role, I’m sure most people would agree that enjoying decadent cookies is a steadfast tradition of the holidays. A time to indulge in good food with family and friends and be grateful for the season. From Sapphire + Co, we wish you the brightest holiday and so much happiness in 2023!
G r a n d m a ’ s S u g a r C o o k i e s
- 2 cups softened butter
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 eggs
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 cups white flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3 full minutes. Add in vanilla extract, almond extract and eggs and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift white flour and then whisk in the baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, half a cup at a time. The dough will be very stiff! Divide dough into workable batches and roll out onto floured surface. Flour the edges of the cookie cutters and cut out dough. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets and bake for 6-8 minutes. Cool on baking sheet before transferring to wire rack. Let completely cool before icing.
R o y a l I c i n g
- 4 ½ cups of confectioner’s sugar (1 16-ounze package)
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, meringue powder, and cream of tartar. Add in warm water and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until combined. Then beat on high speed for 8 minutes until icing is very stiff. If necessary, thin out icing by adding water, 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.