Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Making my mothers famous sugar cookies on the eve of Christmas eve is a long-standing tradition in the Bunnell household. We pour some wine, turn on some holiday music and settle in to attempt some Martha Stewart-style cookie decorating. In years past, we have used every frosting color under the sun, but this year we went with a monochromatic white theme and the result was lovely (and delicious!). Making these cookies is a serious time commitment, but I promise it is totally worth it! I recommend making the dough and baking the cookies the night before you decorate them to make the process more manageable. I look forward to our baking tradition every year, and I guarantee that after trying this recipe you will want to start a cookie-making tradition of your own!
Sugar Cookie Dough
Yields: 2 Dozen Cookies
2/3 c. shortening
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
4 t. milk
2 c. sifted flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1. Cream shortening, sugar, vanilla. Add egg, beat until fluffy. Stir in milk. Blend in dry ingredients.
2. Divide dough in half and chill for 1 hour.
3. Roll dough out onto lightly floured surface and cut into shapes.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
5. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely before decorating.
Freshly baked sugar cookies.
We use our favorite holiday cookie cutters: stars, angels, ornaments, trees, mittens, and snowmen!
Easy Dipping Icing
3 tblsp. granulated sugar
2 tblsp. milk
2 tblsp. margarine
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or almond extract
1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the sugar and the margarine for 2 minutes.
2. With a wire wisk, add the flavoring and powdered sugar (if you would like to color the icing, add the food coloring here). *You will work with this icing warm, so use immediately.
3. Dip the tops of the cookies in the icing, letting some of the icing drip off, then place on wax paper to dry.
Tips: The icing should stick to the cookies and not completely run off the top, so you can adjust the amount of sugar or milk as needed. Before you dip the cookies you may have to stir the icing to break the skin atop the icing, allowing it to stick to the cookies. If the icing gets too cool, you may have to microwave it for a few seconds or add a few drops of milk.
Stir the icing while warm before dipping cookies.
Dip the tops of the cookies in the icing – letting some of the icing drip off.
Icing will dry to create a smooth, glazed surface – perfect for decorating!
Place the cookies on wax paper to dry completely before decorating.
Meringue Powder Buttercream (Piping Frosting)
1/3 cup water
3 tblsp. meringue powder
1/2 cup shortening
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (use a clear version for pure white icing)
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1. Beat water and meringue powder in a mixer until stiff peaks form.
2. Add shortening, sugar and extracts and whip for 3 minutes.
3. Store well covered, or use immediately.
Prepare the piping bags, then fill each with the meringue buttercream frosting using a spatula.
Cookie Decorating Tools
Pastry Bag Couplers
Food Coloring (for piping icing)
We use an assortment of decorating sugars, sprinkles, edible pearls, glitters and dragees for our cookies.
Pipe each cookie, then add sprinkles as desired!
Be sure to add dragees when frosting is not completely dry so they don’t fall off!
Et Voila! You have sugar cookies that are beautiful and delicious – just in time for Christmas Eve!