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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies 1

DAY 5: Sugar Cookies (Two Doughs/Many Variations)

Sugar Cookies are the iconic Christmas treat. Good thing they are also extremely versatile. Once you have your sugar cookie base, you can easily change up the design for very different looks and tastes. I have two basic sugar cookie doughs that I like to use. The first is a soft, thick dough that stays pillowy soft and tender after baking. This is the dough I use for most of my sugar cookies:

Sugar Cookies 2

But if I need really sharp edges, and absolutely no spread when the dough is baked, I go with the dough below. The cookies are still soft if you don’t overbake them, but they are more dense than the other recipe.

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Whichever dough you choose, you can make traditional frosted sugar cookies, with various types of icing, or try something just a little different. These two options are actually easier than frosting with a regular icing.

Snow Capped Christmas Trees:

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies:

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies 2

ORIGINAL BLOG POSTS:
Soft and Thick Sugar Cookies (2009)
Sharp Edged Sugar Cookies (2014)
Snow Capped Christmas Trees (2016)
Stained Glass Sugar Cookies (2016)

RECIPE:

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies 2

Soft and Thick Sugar Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, sour cream, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Mix in 4 cups of flour, the baking soda, and salt. Mix in enough additional flour to make a moderately stiff dough.

Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour for easier handling. Roll out dough to desired thickness (about 1/4” thick) and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake at 375°F for 10 -11 minutes; if they brown, it’s been too long.  They should look white when done.

Frost and decorate as desired.

Yield will depend on the size of your cookie cutter and the thickness of your dough. I got 6 dozen cookies made from 3” cookie cutters.

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Sharp Edged Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour

Royal Icing
Optional: Shimmery Sanding Sugar or Coarse Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in extracts and egg.

In a separate bowl combine baking powder with flour and slowly mix into the wet ingredients. The dough will be stiff.

Do not chill dough. Roll dough out onto a floured surface to almost 1/4 inch. You want these cookies to be thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes and place on baking sheets.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Yield will depend on the size of your cookie cutter and the thickness of your dough. I got 25 cookies made from 4” snowflake cookie cutters.

(Sharp edged sugar cookie dough from In Katrina’s Kitchen)

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Sugar Cookie Dough (see above)
Green food coloring
About 12 oz white chocolate, or white melting candy discs

Prepare sugar cookie dough.  Mix in a few drops of green food coloring. Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour, if necessary, for easier handling. Roll out dough and cut out with Christmas tree cookie cutter.

Bake according to sugar cookie dough recipe.

Place white chocolate in a bowl at least as wide as the cookie sides you will be dipping. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating, until melted and smooth. Dip each edge of the cooled cookies in the melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden.

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Dough (see above)
1 package Jolly Rancher candies, cut in half for small openings

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Roll out dough to about 1/8” and cut out with large  cookie cutters. Place shapes on lined baking sheets. Cut out a smaller shape inside of each cookie  (after placing on baking sheet). I used the centers from a linzer cookie cutter set to make the center openings

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy in the center of each cookie. Use a whole Jolly Rancher if the opening is large enough to lay the entire candy down inside the opening.

Bake according to sugar cookie dough recipe. Cool completely on the baking sheet. When candy centers are completely cool and hardened, remove cookies to a sheet of parchment paper.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

Frostings

Sugar Cookies 2

Glacé Icing

1 lb powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
¼ cup+ 2 Tbs  whole milk
¼ cup + 2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
Gel food coloring
Additional powdered sugar to reach piping consistency

With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and almond or vanilla extract. Add food coloring for desired colors.

You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It’s smooth and thin. It easily runs off of a whisk in a thin drizzle.

To prepare the icing for piping, add additional powdered sugar until icing is stiff, but spoonable.

(Glacé Icing from Our Best Bites)

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Royal Icing

2 Tbs meringue powder
scant ¼ cup water
½ lb powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
½  tsp light corn syrup

Combine the meringue powder and water in a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat until foamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)

Mix in the corn syrup. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 3-5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.

To store for later use: cover with plastic wrap touching the icing and refrigerate.

For Snowflakes: Use a thick open circle decorator tip to pipe thick lines onto each snowflake. Sprinkle cookie with sanding sugar or sprinkles immediately after piping lines (on each cookie). Icing will harden quickly.

Chocolate Butterfly Cupcakes 11

Cooked Vanilla Icing

1 cup whole milk
5 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (do not use powdered sugar)
Optional: food coloring

In a small saucepan, mix the flour and milk until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens (and is just about to boil). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best for this) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light, fluffy, and completely uniform throughout.  Beat in food coloring, if desired.

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies 4

DAY 2: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies: those pillowy-soft cookies in the grocery store with a frosting that hardens just enough to be able to stack them. The homemade version are even better. And much easier to make than rolled and frosted sugar cookies.

Lofthouse Cookies 1

To frost them, simply hold them in your hand and dip them upside down into a bowl of icing. Shake on some candied sprinkles, let them set for an hour and you are ready to go. You can use different flavored extracts (vanilla, almond, orange, peppermint, etc.) for different flavored frostings.

Lofthouse Cookies 5

ORIGINAL BLOG POST (2014): Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

RECIPE:

Lofthouse Style Frosted Christmas Cookies

  • Servings: about 3 dozen
  • Print

Lofthouse Cookies 1

Cookies:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix into butter and sugar in mixing bowl. If the dough is too sticky to roll into balls, refrigerate dough for 30-60 minutes.

With hands, roll dough into 1” balls for small cookies, slightly larger for larger cookies. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten dough balls slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Do not overbake.

Glaze Frosting:
6 Tbs butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 lb (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (or ½ tsp almond, ½ tsp orange, or ¼ tsp peppermint) extract
3-4 drops gel food coloring
Candy Sprinkles

Place butter and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 60-90 seconds, until butter melts. Use a whisk to mix in powdered sugar. If you are making more than one color or flavor of frosting, divide frosting into separate bowls. Stir in extract (if you want to use white icing, use a clear vanilla or other flavored extract). Mix in food coloring.

Dip tops of cooled cookies in warm glaze and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle immediately with candy sprinkles (the glaze starts to set fast: dip one cookie, then add sprinkles, then dip another cookie, etc). If glaze gets too thick, heat in microwave for 15-20 seconds. Allow glaze to set on cookies for about 1 hour before storing cookies.

To freeze: Freeze cookies in single layer and then place in container and store in freezer. Thaw cookies in a single layer.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

DAY 8: Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

Here is a fun Christmas treat to make with kids that is easier than your traditional frosted sugar cookies. All you need is a good sugar cookie recipe, a package of Jolly Rancher hard candies and two different sized cookie cutters.

To begin, you will need to line your baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper so that the candy centers don’t stick.

Prepare your dough and cut out large Christmas shapes (my cookie cutters were about 3” tall). I usually like to make nice thick sugar cookies, but these need to be about 1/8” thick, or the center “window” will be too thin compared to the cookie.

Place cookies on baking sheet before cutting out the smaller design in the center of each cookie. I used the inserts for linzer cookies to cut the center shapes. Cutting out the smaller shape after the cookie is on the baking sheet helps the cookie dough retain its shape. It is harder to move cookie dough with the center cut out.

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy  in the center of each cut out. (Cut candy in half with a sharp knife)  If your openings are large enough to fit the whole Jolly Rancher, then use them whole. You can also crush the candies first, but I found that there are fewer bubbles in your windows if you leave the candies whole. And it is so much easier than crushing hard candy!

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies 3

While the cookies bake, the candies will melt and fill in the centers.

After baking, let the cookies completely cool and the candy window centers harden before removing from baking sheet.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

You could also make these using a Gingerbread Cookie Dough.

RECIPE:

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 package Jolly Rancher candies, cut in half for small openings

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.  Mix in baking soda, salt and enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough (Start with 7 cups and add more if needed).

Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour, if necessary, for easier handling.

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll out dough to about 1/8” and cut out with large  cookie cutters. Place shapes on lined baking sheets. Cut out a smaller shape inside of each cookie  (after placing on baking sheet).

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy in the center of each cookie. Use a whole Jolly Rancher if the opening is large enough to lay the candy down inside the opening.

Bake at 375°F for 8 -10 minutes, or until candies have melted; cookies should not be browned on the edges.  They should look white when done. Cool completely on the baking sheet. When candy centers are completely cool and hardened, remove cookies to a sheet of parchment paper.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

Makes about 6 dozen (using a 3” cookie cutter)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Lofthouse Style Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Style Frosted Cookies

DAY 3: Lofthouse Style Frosted Christmas Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies: those pillowy-soft cookies in the grocery store with a frosting that hardens just enough to be able to stack them. The homemade version are even better. And much easier to make than rolled and frosted sugar cookies.

To frost them, simply hold them in your hand and dip them upside down into a bowl of icing. Shake on some candied sprinkles, let them set for an hour and you are ready to go. You can use different flavored extracts (vanilla, almond, orange, peppermint, etc) for different flavored frostings.

RECIPE:

Lofthouse Style Frosted Christmas Cookies

Lofthouse Style Frosted Cookies

Cookies:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix into butter and sugar in mixing bowl. Refrigerate dough for one hour.

With hands, roll dough into 1” balls (for small cookies, slightly larger for larger cookies). Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten dough balls with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 7-9 minutes for small cookies.

Glaze Frosting:
6 Tbs butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla (or ½ tsp almond, ½ tsp orange or ¼ tsp peppermint) extract
1 lb (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
3-4 drops gel food coloring
Candy Sprinkles

Place butter and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 60-90 seconds, until butter melts. Stir in extract (if you want to use white icing, use a clear vanilla or other flavored extract). Use a whisk to mix in powdered sugar. Mix in food coloring.

Dip tops of cooled cookies in warm glaze and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle immediately with candy sprinkles (the glaze starts to set fast: dip one cookie, then add sprinkles, then dip another cookie, etc). If glaze gets too thick, heat in microwave for 15-20 seconds. Allow glaze to set on cookies for about 1 hour before storing cookies.

To freeze: Freeze cookies in single layer and then place in container and store in freezer. Thaw cookies in a single layer.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies 1

DAY 1: Welcome to the 6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies! First up is a fun Christmas Pinwheel Cookie.

This is a fun way to use a simple sugar cookie dough to make multi-colored swirled cookies. Roll dough rectangles together to form a log and then slice and bake. This dough is great for making ahead and freezing, then baking later.

The recipe comes from Just a Taste, who made them in red, white and blue for the 4th of July.

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies 2

For more Christmas cookie ideas, visit our past cookie events:
First Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies
Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies
Third Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies
Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies
Fifth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies

RECIPE:

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies 1

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract (or use additional vanilla extract)
Red food coloring
Green food coloring
Christmas sprinkles

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs  and the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the flour mixture and beat just until combined.

Remove the dough and separate it into three equal pieces (use a kitchen scale to weigh dough, if possible). Leave one section white. Beat (or knead with hands) red food coloring into one section and green food coloring into the third section. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide each color in half (you will be forming 2 dough logs). Place one of the sections of dough on a piece of waxed paper. Pat into a rough rectangle. Place a piece of plastic wrap over dough and use your fingers or a rolling pin to form a rectangle about 9” x 6” and about 1/8” thick. Repeat with remaining dough sections.

Stack the dough into two rectangles (remove plastic wrap and waxed paper): red, then white, then green. Use a rolling pin to lightly press the dough rectangles together. Starting at the longer edge of the rectangle, roll the dough into a tight log. Place the Christmas sprinkles on a large platter or rimmed baking sheet and roll the dough logs in the sprinkles, lightly pressing them into the sides of the dough.

Wrap the 2 dough logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before baking.

To bake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Remove dough from refrigerator. Use a sharp knife to slice logs into 1/4” rounds. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

NOTE: Dough logs can also be frozen. Thaw in fridge overnight before cutting and baking.

(Adapted from Just a Taste)

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Softball (or Baseball) Cookies

Softball Cookies 1

We made it to the end of another girls’ softball season! Last week was our end-of-season party and awards night. Since I had a couple-dozen plain round cookies left from the graduation party Fruit Pizza Cookies (stored in the freezer), I made these softball cookies in our team color (Go Purple Bandits!) for the girls to eat after their pizza.

Softball Cookies 6

I used a simple Glacé Icing to frost these (just powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup, vanilla or almond extract and gel food coloring) that you mix with a whisk. You could also use a Royal Icing. Click HERE to see soccer ball cookies made with Royal Icing. There are also some more detailed pictures there of piping and flooding sugar cookies.

To make the baseball/softball cookies:

Using  thick white piping-thickness icing, pipe a circle around the edge of each cookie. Using  thinner flooding-thickness white icing, fill the center of each cookie with white icing. Use a toothpick to move icing around to completely fill center. Use toothpick to pop any bubbles. Let cookies set for about 30 minutes before piping on colored lines (ball seams).

Using thick colored piping-thickness icing (I used purple, but you could use red for a traditional baseball), pipe two arcs at the edges of the cookies. Pipe “v’s” to complete seams. Let icing harden at least 24 hours before stacking cookies.

In humid weather it will take even longer for the icing to harden. After 36 hours, mine were still slightly soft. Royal icing dries harder and faster than glacé icing, but I didn’t have any meringue powder and I like the taste of the glacé icing better, especially with almond extract.

Softball Cookies 3

Little J in her Bandits uniform. She was voted Best Hitter by her teammates.

Softball Cookies 2

Little J had a great coach this year that really focused on fundamentals, and her game improved a lot. Her favorite thing to do was to slide. Whether the ball was anywhere near her or not. Here she is sliding into third:

Softball Cookies 4

She tried this in a game once wearing shorts (“It’s too hot to wear pants, Mom!”). After coming home with a softball-sized scrape on the edge of her bum, I haven’t had to nag anymore about the wisdom of pants.

RECIPE:

Sugar Cookies with Glacé Icing

  • Servings: About 5 dozen using a 3-inch round cookie cutter
  • Print

Softball Cookies 5

Sugar Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Beat sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add soda, salt and enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough (start with 7 cups and add additional flour if needed). Chill dough for 20 minutes to 1 hour for easier handling. Roll out dough to desired thickness (I like these fairly thick) and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake at 375°F for 9-11 minutes; if they brown, it’s been too long.  They should still look white when done.

Glacé Icing
——–
(from Our Best Bites)
1lb powdered sugar (about 4 cups) + additional for thickening piping icing
1/4 cup+ 2 Tbs  whole milk or cream
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
Gel food coloring

With a whisk, combine sugar, milk or cream, corn syrup and almond or vanilla extract until smooth. NOTE: If you are using cream, you will need 1-2 Tbs more. Using cream does help the icing look whiter. Add food coloring for desired colors.

You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It’s smooth and thin. It easily runs off of a whisk in a thin drizzle.

To prepare the icing for piping, add more powdered sugar until icing is thick enough to hold its shape.

To make the baseball/softball cookies:
Using  thick white piping-thickness icing, pipe a circle around the edge of each cookie. Using  thinner flooding-thickness white icing, fill the center of each cookie with white icing. Use a toothpick to move icing around to completely fill center. Use toothpick to pop any bubbles. Let cookies set for about 30 minutes before piping colored lines (ball seams).

Using thick colored piping-thickness icing (I used purple because our team was the Purple Bandits, but you could use red for a traditional baseball), pipe two arcs at the edges of the cookies. Pipe “v’s” to complete seams. Let icing harden at least 24 hours before stacking cookies. In humid weather it will take even longer for the icing to harden. After 36 hours, mine were still slightly soft.

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Graduation Party: Individual Fruit Pizza Cookies

Fruit Pizza Cookies 8

At a graduation party for Big A and her best friend M we had a dessert bar where guests could make their own mini fruit pizzas using sugar cookies, fruit dips and chopped fruit.

I made plain round sugar cookies (about 4” in diameter) to use as a base for the fruit pizzas.

Fruit Pizza Cookies 4

There were two fruit dips that we used as frosting for the cookies, a Berry Fluff Dip (which I didn’t get a good picture of) and a Creamy Nutella Dip. Using a fruit dip instead of a regular frosting makes for a less-sweet base for the fruit, which I prefer.

Fruit Pizza Cookies 1

The Nutella fruit dip needs to be stored in the refrigerator, but should be served at room temperature. The dip will get very thick in the fridge, almost fudge consistency. Fudge. Nutella fudge. That is something to ponder for next Christmas.

This “fruit dip” also makes a great frosting for sugar cookies or brownies:

Fruit Pizza Cookies 7

To top frosted cookies, there was an array of chopped fruit. We used fresh pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, mango and kiwi.

Fruit Pizza Cookies 3

The graduates and their friends loved it!

Fruit Pizza Cookies 5

Congratulations Class of 2013. We are so proud of you Big A!

Fruit Pizza Cookies 2

RECIPES:

Individual Fruit Pizza Cookies

  • Servings: About 5 dozen using a 3-inch round cookie cutter
  • Print

Fruit Pizza Cookies 8

Sugar Cookies
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Beat sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add soda, salt and enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough (start with 7 cups and add additional flour if needed). Chill dough for 20 minutes to 1 hour for easier handling. Roll out dough to desired thickness (I like these fairly thick) and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake at 375°F for 9-11 minutes; if they brown, it’s been too long.  They should still look white when done.

Creamy Nutella Fruit Dip
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup Nutella
½ cup heavy cream

Warm cream cheese and Nutella slightly (about 30 seconds in the microwave) and then stir together with the cream until well mixed. Serve at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.

Berry Fluff Fruit Dip
1 container marshmallow fluff
1 container Cool Whip
1 container strawberry flavored cream cheese, softened
½ cup sweetened raspberry (or strawberry) puree or seedless jam

Mix all ingredients until well blended.

To make individual fruit pizzas:
Cut out sugar cookie dough with a 3-4” round cookie cutter and bake. Prepare dessert bar with sugar cookies, fruit dips and chopped fruit (choose from strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, kiwi, mango, nectarines, peaches, grapes). Guests can assemble their own cookie fruit pizza.

Creamy Nutella Fruit Dip

  • Servings: Makes 2 ½ cups
  • Print

Fruit Pizza Cookies 7

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup Nutella
½ cup heavy cream

Warm cream cheese and Nutella slightly (about 30 seconds in the microwave) and then stir together with the cream until well mixed. Serve at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.

Serve as a fruit dip or as a frosting for cookies or brownies.

Berry Fluff Fruit Dip

  • Servings: Makes about 4 cups
  • Print

Berry Fluff Fruit Dip
1 container marshmallow fluff
1 container Cool Whip
1 container strawberry flavored cream cheese, softened
½ cup sweetened raspberry (or strawberry) puree or seedless jam

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Serve as a fruit dip or as a frosting for cookies.

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Stained Glass Valentine Cookies

Stained Glass Valentine Cookies 1

Here is a fun Valentine treat to make with kids and is easier than your traditional frosted sugar cookies. All you need is a good sugar cookie recipe, a package of Jolly Rancher hard candies and two different sized heart cookie cutters.

To begin, you will need to line your baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper. Non-stick foil might work as well, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Prepare your dough and cut out large hearts. I usually like to make nice thick sugar cookies, but these need to be about 1/8” thick, or the center “window” will be too thin compared to the cookie. Place cookies on baking sheet and then cut out the smaller heart in the center of each cookie. Cutting out the smaller heart after the cookie is on the baking sheet helps the cookie dough retain its shape. It is harder to move cookie dough with the center cut out. You can bake the little hearts along with the big ones, or reroll them with your dough scraps.

Place one Jolly Rancher candy (whole) in the center of each cookie. If your openings are smaller than the candies, you can crush the candies first, but I found that there are fewer bubbles in your windows if you leave the candies whole. And it is so much easier than crushing hard candy!

Stained Glass Valentine Cookies 3

While the cookies bake, the candies will melt and fill in the centers.

After baking, let the cookies completely cool and the candy window centers harden before removing from baking sheet.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

Stained Glass Valentine Cookies 2

You could also make these into cookie pops by inserting lollypop sticks into the bottoms of each heart before baking.

It would also be fun to make some for other holidays using different cookie cutters, or a linzer cookie cutter (crush candies first if using a small linzer cutter). Or a gingerbread man with a tiny cut-out heart.

RECIPE:

Stained Glass Valentine Cookies

Stained Glass Valentine Cookies 1

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 package Jolly Rancher candies
2 heart cookie cutters (one large and one small)

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.  Mix in baking soda, salt and enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough (Start with 7 cups and add more if needed).

Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour, if necessary, for easier handling. Roll out dough to about 1/8” and cut with large heart cookie cutter. Cut out a smaller heart inside of each cookie. You can bake these plain smaller hearts, or re-roll them with the dough scraps.

Place hearts on a baking sheet lined with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper. Place one whole Jolly Rancher candy in the center of each heart.

Bake at 375°F for 9 -10 minutes, or until candies have melted; cookies should not be browned on the edges.  They should look white when done. Cool completely on the baking sheet. When candy centers are completely cool and hardened, remove cookies to a sheet of parchment paper.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

Makes 5-6 dozen, depending on the size of the cookie cutter

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookie Bars

051711 010-1

DAY 7: Sugar Cookie Bars

Love sugar cookies, but hate all of the work rolling, cutting and decorating? These sugar cookie bars are the perfect substitute. The dough makes a thick, soft sugar-cookie-flavored bar cookie that you can top with your favorite icing and fun holiday sprinkles. These are topped by one of our favorites, a cooked vanilla frosting.

RECIPE:

051711 010-1

Sugar Cookie Bars
———–(adapted from Recipe Girl)

COOKIE BARS:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 – 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

FROSTING:
1 cup whole milk
5 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (do not use powdered sugar)
Optional: food coloring

Prepare bars:
Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in vanilla and almond extract, if using.

In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to wet mixture and mix just until combined. Spread on a greased, rimmed baking sheet (you can use either a 12×17” pan for thinner bars or a 10×15” pan for slightly thicker bars).

Bake: 10-15 minutes for a 12×17” pan or 15-20 minutes for a 10×15” pan, until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Frost with desired frosting and add sprinkles, if using. Refrigerate the bars until firm… it will be easier to get nice, clean cuts.

Prepare frosting:
In a small saucepan, mix the flour and milk until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens (and is just about to boil). Remove from heat and let it cool completely to room temperature.  Stir in vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best for this) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light, fluffy and completely uniform throughout.  Beat in food coloring, if desired.

Yield: about 32 bars

Other Frosting Options:
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Buttercream

 

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Soccer Ball Cookies

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We are in the thick of soccer season around here. What could be more fun than soccer ball cookies to celebrate a hard-fought victory!

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I used my favorite Sugar Cookie recipe for the cookies and Royal Icing to make the soccer ball faces. Start with thick royal icing in a pastry bag with a writing tip. Pipe a circle of white icing around the edge of the cookie.

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Using a thinned royal icing, flood the cookie with white icing. A plastic squeeze bottle is the easiest way to flood the cookie, then use a toothpick to spread the icing to the edges of the cookie. Let the icing dry for several hours, or until dry.

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I am very artistically challenged, and had a hard time freehanding a symmetrical pentagon. So I printed one off of the computer, then cut out the pentagon. Using a toothpick, I traced the pentagon in the center of the cookie.

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Using thick black royal icing, pipe lines to form the pentagon and then from each corner of the pentagon to the edge of the cookie.

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Draw a small triangle at the edge of each line. I am obviously no professional here (notice the lopsided geometric shapes), but nine-year-olds are pretty forgiving when they have a soccer ball cookie in hand!

041811 044-1Use thinned black royal icing to fill in the pentagon and triangles. Let dry completely.

For a more professional look (completely flat, without raised black lines), pipe the black lines on the naked cookie (and fill with black icing), then complete the edge of the circle with stiff white lines and flood each individual section with thinned white icing. I made them all completely white first because I was planning on doing some with baseball/softball lines and was hoping to save some time.

For mouth-dropping professional work-of-art cookies,
visit Bridget at Bake at 350. She is truly an artist!

RECIPE:

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Royal Icing
——(from Bake at 350)

4 Tbs meringue powder
scant 1/2 cup water
1 lb powdered sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp light corn syrup
few drops clear extract (optional)
gel paste food colorings

Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)

Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.

To store for later use: cover with plastic wrap touching the icing and refrigerate.

To use immediately: divide icing into bowls for different colors. Tint using gel paste food colorings.

This “stiff” icing is perfect for outlining, building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, first tint with food coloring and then add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called “flooding.”

YIELD: This recipe will cover 2-3 dozen 3.5” cookies in 2 colors

 

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