Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Making Christmas Cookies

December 19, 2007

Like most people, much of our Christmas preparation revolves around baking. I do stop to ponder occasionally--what possesses me to bake endless batches of cookies in the weeks preceding Christmas? It really makes no sense; yet I am powerless to cease this time-honored Tradition. (OK, Fiddler on the Roof fans, stop singing.)

And so while Dr. H. is busy filling out his Survivor application at work, we are once again firing up the oven for another afternoon baking extravaganza. But while the butter softens, I thought I should post some photos from our sugar cookie bake-a-thon.

We've always made sugar cookies and decorate with frosting and all kinds of sprinkles and such. (I admit to buying frosting in a can. My homemade icing always tastes like onions. Please don't try to figure that out.) Dr. H. is not a fan of frosting, so we always make a bunch of sugar-only-topped cookies for him. This is just so incredibly much fun. Here is my sugar cookie recipe. It is absolutely perfect.

Never Fail Sugar Cookies

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick butter (don't even think about using margarine)
3/4 c. Crisco
3 T. milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients as in for pie crust and cut in shortening. Add remaining ingredients. Chill for at least an hour. Roll out about 1/4 inch on a floured board and cut into shapes. Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes. Don't overbake. Cool and frost.

Aren't they beautiful? The other day we made about 4 dozen cookies and ate them all in one stinking day. We may not be SmallWorld much longer.

Well, I am an avid reader of The Pioneer Woman and last week or so she posted her Favorite Christmas Cookie recipe, so I thought I should give it a try. I pretty much adore everything on her site, so although I love my recipe, I thought the painted version of the cookie looked fun.

Painting the cookies with egg yolk and food coloring before baking was fun and different and much less messy than using frosting. But we all agreed that the taste of our traditional sugar cookie is better. And I really have a thing about frosting, so the little dabs on these cookies didn't cut it for me. Still, the process was fun and we'll likely do this again next year.

The ultimate verdict: Opa likes both versions of the Christmas Sugar Cookie. He agrees that this is one tradition that must continue. Daily. And so I'm off now to make Jam Diagonals. Dr. H. is drooling, because this is the absolute Queen of All Christmas Cookies. I might save him a couple...

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