Christmas Butter Cookies

Christmas Butter CookiesC Is For Cookie…

This weekend I am having a couple dozen kids over for a cookie decorating party ‘cause who needs their sanity? Am I right?

This is the third year we have hosted it, and despite the craziness, it really is a lot of fun. If you ever want to get in the spirit of Christmas or just re-live it through the eyes of an eight year old—have a cookie party.

In the past I have made a massive amount of sugar cookies and gingerbread men/woman for the kids to decorate as they see fit. This year I was thinking about mini gingerbread houses. but as the weekend fast approaches, I’m realizing that would be a one way ticket to crazy town. I might just provide some graham crackers for the kids who want to try their hand. I am also cheating by purchasing the cookie icing instead of making it and coloring it myself. I did that the first year. #Rookiemistake.

The hardest thing about making the cookies is finding a recipe that actually tastes good. There are plenty of sugar cookie recipes, and most make cookies that are easy to decorate, but are too hard and have little flavor. This year I am going with a butter cookie instead, because the whole purpose of making and decorating cookies is to eat them. By the handful…

This recipe originated with America’s Test Kitchen. I played around with it. It makes a great cookie sturdy enough for icing, and with plenty of butter for tastiness. Yay for butter!

Christmas Butter Cookies
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
1 1/2 ounces softened cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, superfine sugar, and salt on low speed until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until crumbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons cream cheese and vanilla and beat until mixture begins to form large clumps: about 30 seconds.

Knead dough by hand just until it forms cohesive mass. Divide dough in half, form each half into a disk, wrap disks in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll each disk of dough 1/8 inch thick; refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Using 2 1/2-inch cutter, cut dough into shapes, gathering and re-rolling scraps as necessary. Space shapes 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared sheets.

Now it is time to decorate! I like to use Wilton Cookie Icing, which is like a traditional royal icing. It comes in a range of colors.

Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating sheet (front to back) halfway through baking.
Let cookies cool on sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to wire rack, and let cool complete

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