One of my favorite Holiday Traditions is baking cookies. All the signs are there. Reindeer pop up on neighborhood lawns, cars drive by with pine trees tied to their roofs, and carolers pop up in the most surprising places. But for me, Christmastime doesn't really start until the house is filled with the smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies.
When I was younger my grandmother and I would roll out pounds of sugar cookie dough and painstakingly frost and decorate all sorts of holiday shapes. We plopped the dough down onto the counter and used a rolling pin to flatten it out. Then came the cookie cutters. We pressed the metal molds into the dough, stamping out cookies in shapes of wreaths, trees and angels. The extra bits we crumpled up and cut again. Never any waste.
The best part was decorating the cookies. Hand mixed icing, sugar crystal sparkles, candy beads and red and green sprinkles. I couldn't get enough of that, each cookie had to be perfect, what if this was the batch Santa was going to eat. We baked all day, batch after batch. When we finally had one small clump of dough left, too small for a new batch but too big to throw out, my grandma would let me make my own special creation. One giant cookie, trying to out-do my creation the year before. I still can't frost a cupcake to save my life, but my sugar cookie skills are out of this world.
I wanted to share with you the recipe we have passed down, it’s nothing secret but it sure is special.
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. Cover and chill the dough for at least one hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
3. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter.
4. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.