Decorated Sugar Cookies Are a Holiday Must-Have

December 13, 2013

Decorated sugar cookiesChristmas time means cookie-making time, and to my family, nothing says "Happy Holidays" like making, cutting out, and decorating sugar cookies. Sure, you can buy the ready-made dough in the tube at the supermarket, but sugar cookies really aren't that difficult to make. Try this recipe, and you'll probably become part of your holiday baking repertoire.

The kids love to help roll out the dough and cut out cookies in different shapes with our collection of Christmas cookies cutters. Christmas trees, stars, candy canes, and snowmen are all fun to decorate in different ways. You can use frosting, candy sprinkles, colored sugar, chocolate chips, or anything your imagination can come up with.

This sugar cookie recipe is a little unusual in that it uses lemon juice and zest in place of the more typical vanilla. I love the fresh flavor imparted by the lemon, so give it a try. (It's adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, so it has to be good, right?)

Sugar cookies for ChristmasIngredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (you’ll need a little more for dusting your work surface, too)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice and grated zest of 1 lemon or a teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Note: Kids can measure and mix ingredients and stir them together, as well as cut out shapes and decorate the cookies.

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.

In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones in the large bowl along with the lemon juice and zest and mix together on low speed until they’re combined.

Making sugar cookies for ChristmasDecorating sugar cookies for Christmas

At this point you can wrap the dough in some plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. This makes the dough easier to roll and shape.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick, then cut into shapes and bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 8–10 minutes or until they start to turn a little brown on the edges.

Cool on a wire rack, and then decorate.