Thursday, July 14, 2011
Christmas in July: Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 1
It is no secret that I LOVE me some Christmas. It is my favourite holiday! I love everything about it, but especially the food. I plan Christmas all year long (okay, when I say I plan all year, it's more that I gather ideas throughout the year. I'm not totally weird).
So in order to celebrate all that I love about Christmas I'm doing a little mini series of Christmas cookies, in July, because, well, I needed an excuse to make cookies! So I present
Christmas in July: Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies!
(uh, YES I was too lazy to make a button. That, and I have no idea how...)
Over the next 12 days I'll post a recipe each day from my cookie (and squares) stash. These will include fun ones to do with your kids, traditional cookies as well as some new ones. Hopefully you'll find something to add to YOUR Christmas recipe stash. Or just your regular cookie stash. Hehe!
Traditional Sugar Cookies
(This was in the book or recipes that I made for myself when I moved out of my parents' house. I think it originally came from my Mom's big red Betty Crocker Cookbook.)
These are such versatile cookies. I use them to make all sorts of things. Like Melted snowmen, french fries and even itty bitty sparkly stars at the milk, cookies and bedtime stories baby shower.
You can leave them plain (I did when I made the fries), decorate them with icing (like we did at our Christmas cookie party), cover them in (plain or coloured) sugar, or use cookie paint, which is what I'm going to show you today!
First let's make the cookies. Here is what you'll need:
3/4 cup shortening (I have made these with butter, but the shortening makes for a crisper cookie and I'm always happier with the result this way. It also makes them dairy-free if you need them to be)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract OR 1/2 tsp Lemon extract (I prefer the lighter flavour of the lemon especially when on a table of "heavier" flavoured cookies)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Cream together the shortening, sugar, eggs and flavouring. You want it to be nice and smooth. If you do use butter, cream it first before adding everything else to help smooth it out.
Blend in the flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill at least one hour.
Heat oven to 400ºF. Roll dough 1/8in thick on lightly floured counter-top. (Okay, when I made the snowmen and fries they were much thicker, so then I just turned down the oven to 375ºF and baked it a little longer). Cut into desired shapes. Paint with cookie paint (recipe below). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until very light brown.
If you've never done this, you're going to LOVE this. I see it as a good way to get the kids to help decorate cookies without the "ick factor" of their slimy, licked fingers as they try to deal with icing. If they happen to touch the cookie, all the germs get baked off! Ha!
Take the yolk of one egg and stir it together with 1/4 tsp of water. Divide between small bowls (I did 3 colours with one egg yolk) and colour with food colouring (the regular liquid variety works). I was a little concerned that these might change colour from the yolk of the egg, but they don't, so don't worry about adding blue to the yellow yolk, you'll still get blue.
Take a clean paint brush and paint the cookies before baking (I'm sure this would work on any sugar cookie, even the pre-made store bought dough). The more saturated the paint, the darker the colours (though try not to have them dripping). If the paint gets thick, thin it with a drop or two of water.
When you bake them the colours come our bright and shiny. Like this:
Pretty huh? These designs are courtesy of my 3 year old.
Linking up here:
and I heart naptime