A jarful of Sugar Cookies, that’s my Christmas wish! What’s yours?
Can you believe there’s just five days to Christmas? How did that happen? Time sure flies when you’re having fun. The past few weeks have been filled with baking, and though my feet are crying for a break, I am loving every minute of Christmas prep! I hope you are too. 🙂
Christmas 2015 was an important one. For it was a Christmas full of firsts! First time the boyfriend and I celebrated Christmas in our home; first time we bought and decorated our own tree; first time I made these beautiful Sugar Cookies and spiced Gingerbread Cookies; first time we spent Christmas night in an emergency room (I fell in the shower, don’t laugh)… you get the gist. 😛
But I swear, these Sugar Cookies were the highlight that year! And the next year. And this year. And it goes on and on… 😀
Before I ramble on, here’s what you need to whip up a batch of these Sugar Cookies. This recipe makes 30 little cookies.
For the Sugar Cookies:
- All Purpose Flour – 195 g
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
- Unsalted Butter – 113 g, softened
- Granulated Sugar – 100 g
- Egg – 1
- Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
For the Royal Icing:
- Egg White – 1 large
- Fresh Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
- Vanilla Extract – 1/4 tsp
- Icing Sugar – 165 g, sifted
- Gel food colours of your choice
- Sprinkles of your choice
Here’s how you make them:
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
- Using a hand/stand mixer, beat the softened butter until creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and give it a good mix.
- Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients part by part to minimize spillage. Beat after every addition until just incorporated. The dough will be sticky; do not add any additional flour at this point.
- Gather the dough and turn it out on to a large piece of cling wrap or parchment paper. Wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate it for at least one hour (overnight is recommended).
- When you’re ready to bake the cookies, leave the dough out at room temperature for 10 minutes. Place the dough on a generously floured surface and roll it out until 1/2 cm in thickness. Lift and turn the dough while rolling to ensure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Using cookie cutters, cut out cookies and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C/ 350 °F. In the mean time, pop the cookie sheet with the cookies into the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Bake the chilled cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat the process of rolling, cutting, chilling and baking with the remaining dough.
- While the cookies are cooling, for the Royal Icing whisk the egg white, lemon juice and vanilla together until lightly frothy. Add in the icing sugar, bit by bit, whisking continuously, until you get glossy, white icing of a thick piping consistency. You can add more icing sugar to thicken it further or use 1/2 teaspoon of water at a time to thin it down to the desired consistency.
- Divide the Royal Icing into 3 bowls. In one bowl, add in a blob of red gel food colour and mix. In another, add in some green food colour; keep adding in more until the desired shade is achieved. Leave the icing in the third bowl white in colour.
- Use the icing to decorate the cookies any way you like and leave them to dry overnight. Once the icing is dried completely, store the cookies in airtight containers.
Okay, be honest. Don’t these cookies look way too adorable to eat? I think they do. But I also can’t stop eating them! They are THAT good! I’ve come across many store-bought sugar cookies in the past and have always been disappointed by their flavour – cloying, plastic-y and just downright crappy. They look great, but one bite into them and it makes you wonder why anyone would want to feed such chemically-treated-tasting cookies to anyone, let alone sell them in large quantities. So, naturally, after tasting so many bad apples – errr, cookies – I had a mighty load of reservations before I gave this recipe a try. Will they be edible? Will they be too sweet? I hope the icing’s going to be better than the ones on the store-bought cookies…
These cookies are a 1000 times better, I promise! They’ve got major buttery scenes going on for them, which I personally cannot find fault with. Just sweetened the right amount, these cookies shine like stars when topped with the sugary royal icing. (Yes, just like the star that guided the Three Wise Men to Jesus’ manger.) 😛 Take a bite, and they melt in your mouth, while the flavours of the subtly-lemon-y icing and the buttery base cookie luxuriously coat your palate! Heaven!<3
These Sugar Cookies are seriously addictive. Bake up a large batch and you’ll see them vanishing quickly. My advice? Divide the batch and hide one portion of them away from the kids in a place only you can reach. Also, keep yourself away from that place till Christmas Day. 😉 That way you’ll have some cookies remaining to offer to guests when they drop by or to include in your edible gifting during the holiday season.
Before I go bake up a batch of these cuties, here are some tips that make these cookies Ah-mazing!
- My top tip is to use granulated sugar instead of caster sugar in this recipe. I personally love the slight crunch that granulated sugar lends to these cookies. The softest crackle makes me happy! However, if you don’t fancy finding crystals of sugar in your cookies, or don’t have granulated sugar on hand, go ahead and use caster sugar. It works just as well.
- Use really good quality butter, because these cookies have such few ingredients going into them. The quality of the butter used will make all the difference to the flavour of these Sugar Cookies.
- Please don’t add more flour to the dough when it first comes together; it will be sticky and tacky, and that’s fine. Keep in mind that we will be using additional flour while rolling out the dough.
- Chilling the dough is important. Once for at least an hour (or overnight) when you first put it together, to ensure it firms up and the flavours meld together. And again before popping the cutout cookies into the oven, so that they don’t spread too much and lose their shape while baking.
- Decorate/ice your cookies only once they’re completely cooled.
- Also, gather up an army to help you decorate cookies because it really is a tiring job. This is a great way to get the entire family into the Christmas spirit, and a whole lot of quality time is in the works at a cookie decorating party! 🙂
So, put on your apron and pick up that whisk! There’s not much time to Christmas, so get baking! And if you want to whip up more simple Christmas sweet treats, check out these delicious Christmas Tree Brownie Pops and this seriously-chocolatey Chocolate Fudge! 🙂
For regular updates on what’s happening in The Foodscape kitchen, follow us on Instagram at @thefoodscape! You’ll love all the deliciousness there, I promise! ❤