Photo taken with the last of the winter daylight sneaking in through our living room window
My family has been making these Christmas sugar cookies since I was old enough to say, I want Christmas cookies so let’s bake some darn it! Store-bought cookies never taste truly Christmasy to me and I wanted Christmas cookies so I gathered my siblings and we baked together and had a ton of making these cookies. I had no idea what I was going but they did not know that. All I knew was I wanted some Christmas baking memories and boy, do we ever have some now thanks to this recipe.
This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook via my sister Shannon. Thanks Shannon and that is the ORIGINAL recipe in the photo above BTW! I tried finding it on their site but you look up sugar cookies and, well, there are a lot of recipes there but none that seem to be “ours.” So I will share the recipe with you!
Cream 2/3 cup room temperature unsalted (if you have it) butter with 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp of orange zest (I used clementine) and 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Add an egg and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in 4 tsp of milk.
You would think that because I have made these cookies year after year that I would know the recipe off the top of my head and not make mistakes. Nope! In fact this photo is of me putting in 4 tbsps of milk instead of 4 tsp! I added additional flour and the cookies still turned out great. See, you can screw up royally and still make awesome food. I know, I do it all the time.
Sift together 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt. Blend into creamed dough. Divide dough in half, cover with plastic wrap, shape into a disc and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375F and roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8″ think. Cut out the cookies and bake on parchment paper at 375F for 6-8 minutes. I like to put the smaller cookies on one tray and bake for 6 minutes and bigger cookies on another tray and bake for 8 minutes. You want them to stay light on the top but a little golden on the bottom.
Put cookies on cooling rack. When we were kids we used to put the little decorative sprinkles onto the cookies before putting them into the oven but I wanted to try decorating with royal icing this year. It was a big foodie step for me!
I am more of a Cool Yule kind of woman so I wanted there to be more of a winter theme this year so I picked up lots of pretty winter-themed decorations for my cookies from the Bulk Barn.
What a treat! My husband actually agreed to help me decorate this year! These cookies were especially made for our dear friends and he was happy to add his decorating talents. He is a perfectionist though so in the time it took him to professionally decorate one Christmas tree I got six done! Not as pretty as his but not bad:
Yes, I would have loved to perfectly pipe the icing onto the cookies but we were running out of time and I needed them to harden before we left in like, oh, half an hour?!
I hope you enjoyed this nostalgic sugar cookie journey. Making these cookies made me feel closer to my family in Ontario while I am in Nova Scotia. At the same time they helped me connect with my friend-family here on the east coast. Making new food memories with old family recipes, bringing joy to my life one recipe at a time.