One of my absolute favourite activities I do to prepare for Christmas is baking. Probably because baking is one of my favourite activities any time of the year, but there are some special recipes that only come out at Christmas time. This sugar cookie recipe is one of them. It’s definitely more labour-intensive than your good old chocolate chip drop cookie, but once a year I’m willing to make the effort.
In theory making sugar cookies would be a fun activity to do with your kids, because kids like to do things like roll dough, cut shapes and decorate cookies. In my real life, making these cookies with my kids results in a lot of “Don’t lick that!” and “You’re doing it wrong!” and “Please wait your turn!” because I am a control freak. So if you can make these with your kids’ “help” and without losing your mind, I bow to you. Without further ado, here’s the recipe.
3 cups white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir well to blend.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla and almond. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture.
Form dough into two balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for three hours.
Roll dough out into a floured surface to 1/4” thick. Cut into desires shapes. Decorate with coloured sugar, nuts or candies, OR decorate with icing after the cookies are completely cooled.
Bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes (watch them closely, smaller or thinner cookies may be done much sooner).
This makes a lot of cookies. You can freeze some of the dough if you don’t want to make them all at once. Just allow enough time to let it defrost completely before trying to roll it out.
If, like me, you are too impatient to chill all the dough, you can put half in the fridge (wrap it tight!) and work with the other half right away. You’ll have to use more flour to roll them out, but unless you’re feeding them to an especially discerning patisserie chef, nobody will notice.
I have no idea where this recipe originated, besides a recipe card in my mom’s collection. Please let me know if you have knowledge of the original!
I usually ice these with buttercream (1 cup butter, 4 cups icing sugar, 2 Tbsp milk, a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla) but you do you. There are tons of tutorials available for gorgeous royal icing techniques, or just throw some sprinkles on there before you bake and call it done.
The almond extract is really what gives these cookies their special flavour. You can probably make these without the almond extract but they won’t taste the same. Sorry, nut allergies. If it makes you feel better, I can’t actually eat these cookies anymore either because I have celiac disease. I’m still on the hunt for a perfect GF sugar cookie.