12.05.2013

Christmas Sugar Cutouts

One of my favorite memories from my childhood was making Christmas sugar cookies with my dad. We would spend an entire day making dough, cutting out shapes, baking, frosting, and decorating dozens and dozens of Christmas shaped cookies. My dad would always use homemade dough (did pre made dough even exist in the 80s?) and homemade frosting. We would divide the frosting into small little batches, each with its own color and flavor - I think my favorite frosting flavor was the peppermint (green frosting, obviously) and cinnamon (red frosting, naturally).

Dad was always so great, letting me use my imagination while I decorated. I can remember several cookies having small mountains of sprinkles and very sloppy and choppy frosting jobs. I'm sure by the time it was all said and done my cookies weren't ever really pretty, but the memories I made were beyond priceless.

This year I thought it'd be fun to start that same sugar cutout tradition with Marcus.
Marcus helped me in making sure the dough tasted just right. Otherwise I was left in the kitchen to my devices while he tore through the house chasing the cat with an ornament I didn't mind him ripping from the tree. Maybe next year our attempts to make Christmas cutouts will actually involve both of us a little bit more.
I searched high and low for a sugar cookie recipe that seemed easy enough and actually tasted good. It took a bit, but I think I found it. There was also a bit of a hunt to find a frosting that looked as good as it tasted, and wasn't terribly hard to work with. Luckily I found one.

These taste great, and would be fun to bring to any Christmas party. Just keep in mind, these do require some time to make - only because the cookies need to be totally cooled before frosting, and the frosting needs to totally dry before storing or transferring.

Without further ado…

Christmas Sugar Cutouts (Yields 3-4 dozen cookies)
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract

To make the dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a second large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the yogurt and butter at a low speed; add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and mix until combined. It's ok if it's a little lumpy as long as not butter chucks are visible.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture, mixing until well combined. Dough will be sticky.
Flatten dough, wrap tightly and refrigerate until chilled, 1-2 hours.
Tip: Dough may be made to this point and refrigerated fro up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Roll, Cut & Bake:
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Generously flour your work surface to prevent dough from sticking. Rub flour on rolling pin.
Put dough on top of the floured surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour.
Starting at the center, roll the dough out to one edge; return to the center and roll the dough to the opposite edge.
Continue rolling until dough is an even 1/4 inch thick all over, sprinkle with additional flour, if needed, to avoid sticking.
Dip cookie cutter into flour and cut out dough shapes.
Transfer dough shapes to baking sheets.
Continue rolling dough, cutting shapes, and adding to baking sheets until the sheets are filled.
Bake 2 sheets at a time for 8-10 minutes, rotating and switching pans half way through cooking time.
Bake them until they are baked all the way through but haven't started browning on the bottom.
Transfer hot cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.
Tip: Cooled, unfrosted cookies may be stacked in a sealed container and stored at room temperature for up to three days, or frozen for up to 2 weeks.
Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbsp whole milk
6 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 tsp almond extract

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and milk until smooth.
Add in corn syrup and almond extract. WIth a strong arm, whisk together until the icing is shiny and smooth and drizzles off your whisk easily.
This runny consistency is what you will use to fill your cookies.
Using a small bowl, pour in a bit of your thin icing, approximately 1/2 cup.
Sprinkle in some additional powdered sugar and whisk again until smooth and difficult to mix by hand. It's going to be thick, and that's good. You want the icing to run VERY slowly off your whisk.
Fill a piping bag with your thick icing, using a #3 or #4 decorator tip (or use a ziplock with a tiny bit of the corner snipped off), and outline your cookie.
Allow the outline to harden some before adding the filling.
In a separate decorating bag, bottle or zip lock, fill with the runny icing.
Carefully squeeze the thin icing onto your cookies. Don't rush to spread the icing, it will spread some on its own.
Once the icing seems to have settled a bit, go back in a fill in any spots that the icing didn't fill.
If you're using sprinkles, add them while the icing is still wet. If you're decorating with other icing it is best to wait until icing is totally dry (if icing feels dry to the touch you're good to go).
The only thing wrong with these is that I can't stop eating them. Santa needs to stop by my house ASAP, or my waist will resemble that of the man in the red suit!

Head over to Destiny USA (destinyusa.com) to catch up on their Unwrap Your Memories Campaign this holiday season!

Don't forget to join The 5 Days of Christmas, Christmas Traditions, and Mean Ang's Cookie Swap, and link up to share your Christmas    goodies and traditions, too!
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Growing Up Jacobson

Mean Ang

Cookie inspiration: The Yummy Life
Frosting: Kitchen Meets Girl

18 comments:

  1. Definitely one of my favorite traditions as well! Can't wait to make some with Drew to lay out for Santa this year! :)

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  2. Those look so good! I never have patience for doing those cookies lol. I LOVE to bake, too which is funny. Nice job ;)

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  3. Unm, yum. I always stay away from sugar cookies because mine always flop but I might have to give them one more chance...

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  4. Thanks for sharing this! I have a slight feeling that we will be snowed in this weekend. IF so we will be making these!

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  5. Oh man, those cookies look amazing!! Sugar cookies are my favorite!! I will have to remember this recipe and maybe try it soon. :-) Thanks so much for linking up. :-)

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  6. I love those pictures!! And good god.... All those ingredients and directions. My ADD just can't handle it! You need to come to STL and help my kids make these :)

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  7. Could you just send some to my house??

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  8. Those look amazing. I am dying to try that recipe since I have been on the hunt for a perfect sugar cookie recipe for years.

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  9. Your cookies look great! Why didn't you get your Dad's recipes?? Just curious. When I was really young it was fun to decorate the cookies, but as a teenager my sister and I got so bored doing it that they didn't look that great b/c we'd rush thru it. I'd love to actually decorate mine w/ frosting bags and tips some year but not sure I have the patience just yet. :)

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  10. I love the decorating part of sugar cookies but the baking part takes too much patience for me! I'm super impressed with your dedication! They look amazing and I'm sure they taste great too! Thanks for linking up!! :)

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  11. They turned out so cute! One of my favorite traditions as well :) This looks pretty similar to my mom's recipe...it's the almond in the frosting that MAKES it, I think!

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  12. i just LOL'ed mid reading about marcus chasing the cat. hahaha.
    i should try to make these. it will blow isaiahs mind.
    if i don't burn the house down.

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  13. I love love that it is your dad that did the sugar cookies with you. Such a sweet memory to have. I am with Jenny I don't have the patience for sugar cookies and icing...homemade. They don't taste good to me, soooo I never feel like taking the time to make them. But, I do love the decorating part! Yours turned out so awesome. Not sure I could show mine =P I could just say Aria helped though, right?

    Thanks for linking up!

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  14. Yep, so I think your post was the favorite. I am totally making these cookies. :)

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  15. I have such wonderful memories of baking and decorating Christmas sugar cookies with my parents. Those are some of my most cherished Christmas memories. I just know Marcus will also have wonderful memories of doing the same thing with you!

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  16. Your cookies are so pretty!! What a great memory to share with Marcus :)

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  17. so your pictures of the cookies look professional! this is a great tradition! i don't think there is anything better than cookies when you're younger :)

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  18. Perfect presentation! The milk and polka dot straw, the icing and sprinkles... right out of a magazine! I wouldn't even want to eat them they look for perfect!

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