foodie fridays: mom’s christmas sugar cookies

I know what you’re thinking.

Another cookie recipe?

Yes. 

But I thought you didn’t like to bake?

True.

Wait a minute. Is Santa sponsoring your blog?

Shoot. I knew I shouldn’t have pushed those holiday bites! 

Even though I don’t consider myself a baker, and it would be totes super if The North Pole sponsored my blog, and I know the last thing you want to hear is about another holiday cookie, but with anything, I saved the best for the last.

Growing up I always considered my mother a baker rather than a cook. As kids she would make us a giant chocolate cake smothered with marshmallow icing for our birthdays. On the weekends she would whip up a huge batch of chocolate chip pumpkin muffins for us to snack on. Moms are the best.  
However, as much as my brothers and I enjoyed gobbling up cakes and muffins, there was one item she baked that threw us into a warm, buttery dance, sugar cookies. And not just any sugar cookies, THE BEST ON THE PLANET (I do realize this is a bold statement, but these are serious cookies, people). Once we saw her pull out the seventeen year-old cookie cutters, wooden rolling pin, and orange, 1970’s hand mixer from the cupboards, it was game on. 

My mother, being a completely brilliant woman, would always make the cookies in three stages. Could you imagine trying to make dough from scratch, baking, and decorating it all in one day with three kids running around? Oy Vey!  
She would make the dough the first and let it chill. Second, roll out the dough, cut out the cookies using a cookie cutter (I remember helping her do this because my favorite was the tree shaped one). And lastly, decorate!  As a kid, decorating was my favorite part. Getting to use our imagination, while eating gobs of sweet icing. What else could you want as kid?

Now that I am older, yes I still love the taste of butter and sugar creamed together, but I think the best part about making these cookies was the time spent in the kitchen with my mother. Even though these sugar cookies are literally the best in the world, I can honestly say, they are truly superior when shared with the people you love.

Mom’s Christmas Sugar Cookies
Makes 36 cookies
Prep Time: 2.5 hours with chill
Cook Time: 10 minutes 
Ingredients:
for the dough:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 egg
1 teaspoon. vanilla
1 teaspoon. almond extract
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon. salt
1 tsp. cream of tarter
for the icing:
4 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
red and green food coloring
Directions:
for the dough:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg to the butter/sugar, and mix well. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, along with the baking soda, salt, and cream of tarter, mixing well after each addition. Wrap soft dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight before baking.
Sprinkle clean workspace with 2 tablespoons of flour. Take lump of cold dough and roll out into a rectangle. Don’t roll too flat; roll to 1/4 to 1/2 inch height. Take cookie cutters and press into dough. Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheet. Put biggest, fattest cookies on the exterior of the pan, they’ll bake the fastest; while any smaller or more delicate shapes should be in the middle of the cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on separate plate. 
for the icing: 
Cream butter with 1 cup of sugar. Stir in vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Frosting will be thick. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons milk. Stir well. Add 2 to 3 more tablespoons milk, stir well. Frosting will be runny, now stir in the other cup of powdered sugar. Stir or mix well. If too thick, add more milk. Keep adding milk and sugar to desired spreadable frosting consistency.
Frosting keeps well in the fridge for up to one week. Separate the white frosting into three small bowls – stir red food coloring into one, green into another, and keep one white. Then start decorating!