It’s now socially acceptable to decorate with all of the Christmas things! I just felt like stating that to you guys. 😛
Since it’s now officially the holiday season, I think I’m going to ask a certain husband who isn’t afraid of heights to go in the attic and grab all of the Christmas decor. ::fingers crossed:: I seriously can’t take 3 steps on a ladder without taking deep breaths and telling myself “I think I can…I think I can…”.
I just love making cookies for the holidays. I bake so many for gifts, since it’s always a winner with coworkers and neighbors. I learned a great trick when it comes to baking in bulk for the holidays…make your dough in advance to freeze and then bake them all later. It makes things a lot easier when you’re making dozens of cookies at once.
What also makes things easier while baking is knowing that your favorite recipes will always come out the same when using quality ingredients. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that good, quality ingredients really do make a difference in your baking. For example, I used to grab store brand flour, and the results of my baking weren’t always consistent. I really thought it was me making a mistake in the recipe, but when I switched to a bag of King Arthur Flour, my favorite recipes come out the same way every time. I will admit that King Arthur Flour is slightly pricier than store brands, but to me, it’s worth it to use a brand that has such high quality standards when it comes to flour. You don’t have to order their flour online only either…they carry their flour at so many stores now (I recently saw their flour at Walmart for $3.95/bag!). Also, I’ve seen quite a few of their baking products, like espresso powder (which is so hard for me to find anywhere else…is it just me?) and specialty extracts, at Sur La Table.
Around the holidays, sugar cookies are especially my favorite treats to bake. With rolled cookies, you can cut them into festive shapes and ice/decorate them with royal icing, and with soft and chewy drop sugar cookies, you can make them festive by adding dyed buttercream and holiday sprinkles. While rolled sugar cookies can be a bit time consuming, King Arthur Flour has a great product, called white icing mix, that can help you with simple, no fuss icing for cookies. I used this product for the first time with my favorite rolled sugar cookie recipe using their light bulb holiday cookie cutter, and the cookies came out super cute! The icing mix comes with instructions to make it into a thin glaze or a pipe-able royal icing. It’s pretty versatile and very easy to use!
I love this cookie cutter since it’s a bit different than the usual ornaments/gift shaped cookies that I make. Whenever I make these again, I think I’m going to put them on a long, skinny tray with green royal icing piped between each bulb to look like a string of lights. Fun, right?
I also made these soft frosted sugar cookies, which is a copycat recipe for the iced sugar cookies that are sold in grocery stores. I’ve been wanting to make these for a long time, since (confession) I love those darn cookies!
To make them holiday themed, I used red & white icing, and decorated them with this holly berry sprinkles set.
As far as packaging these little cookies goes, it couldn’t be easier. I just placed a couple of cookies in these snowflake bags. and tied them together with some silver string that I had. You could also use decorative holiday twine, curling ribbon or regular ribbon.
This recipe for soft frosted sugar cookies came out so good. I think they taste better than the store cookies (which shouldn’t be a surprise…home baked always wins in my book), and they weren’t hard to make at all! If you prefer these cookies to rolled cookies, you can see that these would turn out to be just as festive for holiday gifting.
Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies
Source: Annie’s Eats
For the cookies:
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 5 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 7-8 tbsp. milk
- food coloring and sprinkles, optional
- For the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats, and set them aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside for later.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture well after each egg and scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla extract. Put the mixer on low speed, and add in the dry ingredients. Mix the dough until everything is just incorporated and mixed. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for an hour.
- Once the dough is chilled, take out the prepared cookie sheets. Scoop out a scant 1/4 cup of dough and roll the dough into a ball. With your hands, flatten the ball of dough slightly and place the dough on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, being sure to space the cookies 2-3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until they are just set (the edges will just starting to brown), being careful not to over-bake these. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for several minutes (to finish the baking process), and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
- To make the frosting, add the confectioners’ sugar to a medium-sized bowl. Add in the melted butter, vanilla and milk to the bowl. Whisk the icing until smooth, and if you need to, whisk in additional milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. If you’d like to, at this time dye the icing with food coloring (I prefer to use gels, especially for a color like red, since it’s so hard to attain with liquid food coloring).
- Once the cookies are completely cooled, frost the cookies using an offset spatula or spoon. Add sprinkles on top, if desired.
The generous people at King Arthur Flour want to offer one lucky reader a cookie kit that includes the products that I used to make the cookies featured in this post (pictured below).
To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below! Note: This giveaway is supplied by King Arthur Flour and is open to readers in the continental US only. Entries will be accepted until December 7th at 12:00am (central standard time). Winner will be emailed (make sure you leave an email address in the form), and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
DISCLAIMER: I was sent a package of King Arthur Flour products to make these cookies at no cost to me, for writing this post. King Arthur Flour is also supplying the same prize pack (pictured) for the giveaway. All opinions are 100% my own.