It doesn’t feel like Christmas outside, but nothing makes it feel like Christmas inside like decorated sugar cookies. My mother-in-law forwarded a recipe for these Sugar Cookies, which made enough cookies to feed most of Bangkok (the original recipe calls for 9 cups of flour – which would never fit in even my largest mixing bowl) but were absolutely delicious. The recipe below is one that I re-worked a bit to produce a more manageable number of cookies.
The cookies came out moist and a bit cakey – perhaps due, in part, to the addition of the cream cheese? The cream cheese also made them easier to roll out than others I’ve made, even after I put them to the test by forgetting them in the refrigerator for two days before rolling and cutting them.
The cookies were not your ordinary hard, flat sugar cookies. They tasted wonderful and were slightly delicate, so required a gentle touch. For ease of icing these, I mixed very small batches of different colored icing which I put in small plastic bags. Right before decorating, clip off the corner of each bag and gently squeeze the icing out.
We used the same cookie cutters (also a gift from my creative mother-in-law) to make ornaments for our first Christmas tree. Can you tell the difference between the ones made with salt dough and paint and those made for eating? ;)
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until fully combined. Add the cream cheese, vanilla and zest and cream until the mixture again becomes light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the flour mixture a bit at a time, stirring to fully incorporate after each addition.
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight if you prefer).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Divide the dough into three portions, storing each in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough out, to approximately a ¼ inch thickness. Cut out cookies and place on a cookie sheet, 1 inch apart.
- Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, until golden (they may brown slightly around edges.)
- Allow to cool and decorate with icing and sprinkles.