Christmas Cookies: The Tradition Must Continue

Its the most wonderful taste of the year--Spicy Brown Sugar Cookies.  At least that's what my boys told me when we had "the talk" a few years ago. You know the talk. When you ask, "What Christmas traditions are really important?" because you know that you can't keep doing them all and be in any condition to truly celebrate the wonder of Christmas. And right there, on the top of the list, were these cookies. Are they a bit labor intensive? Yes. But they are indeed a wonderful, delicious way to celebrate a most holy and happy holiday. 


Several things have happened to make cookie making much more pleasant. One thing is my lovely assistants, a new daughter-in-law and another son's girlfriend. All that's said about sharing the load is true! I have to admit they are much better help than my boys ever were with their short attention spans, their desire to combine frosting colors and horrors! cutting a cookie out of the middle of the dough. As adults, they would probably be better help now, but their main interest is in the eating, not the making. The other thing that makes cookie making go more smoothly I will share along with the recipe a little later.
I always purchase my high-quality spices at Glen's Bulk Store.

When you think of Christmas Sugar Cookies, brown sugar and spices may not come immediately to mind, but these ingredients make simply an outstanding cookie. I usually roll out my dough fairly thick and the result is a soft, slightly crisp and buttery, lightly spiced taste of Christmas.  And when you layer on a heavy coat of cream cheese frosting, you do indeed have something very special.  


Begin by creaming together:
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 egg

Add:
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Mix together well. This will make a fairly stiff dough.

 
Now for my effort saving tip: For so many years I would refrigerate the dough and then use every bit of my muscle power to try to flatten that stiff dough between layers of plastic wrap with my substantial rolling pin. Cold butter in the dough makes it a challenge. This year I tried something new and I wish I had tried this years ago. This year I divided my dough into fourths and immediately rolled out the dough between layers of plastic wrap to about 1/4-3/8 inch thick. Make sure the dough is completely covered by the plastic wrap. Then slip your rolled out dough into a jumbo, 2 1/2 gallon slider bag (I used Hefty) and refrigerate. Since I make multiple recipes, I usually make my dough on one day and bake on the next, but I would think an hour or two of chilling would be enough. Now it is an easy thing to pull out a portion of dough and begin the fun part of cutting out the cookies.Pull back the top layer of plastic wrap, but leave the bottom layer while you cut the cookies. They are nice and firm and easily transport to a cookie sheet. Collect your scraps and re-roll between layers of plastic wrap. Since you are not adding flour in the rolling, it doesn't get tough and I keep re-rolling until all the dough is used.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until just very lightly beginning to brown. Cool on racks. Frost as desired when cool. My frosting recipe follows. I prefer to frost each shape in the same color with the same kind of sprinkles, but you are under no obligation to continue my compulsion.

Relax and enjoy a cookie with a cup of tea and some of the people you love. Perhaps you will begin a new Christmas tradition. 






Cookies for everyone!!

 Spicy Brown Sugar Cookies
Click here for a printable recipe.


1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda


Cream together butter, brown sugar and egg. Add flour, spices and baking soda. Mix well. Refrigerate dough before or after rolling out (see above). Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Bake on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and frost if desired.


Cream Cheese Frosting
(This is enough for two batches of cookies.)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla


Mix together and whip until smooth and creamy.


I believe that the cookie recipe was originally in a collection distributed by Tupperware.


These cookies freeze beautifully. Make sure the frosting is dry and separate layers with plastic wrap. They thaw in a very short time and are soon ready for any holiday occasion.

1 comment:

  1. Yum, yum. This is similar to the recipe that we made with our neighbor Jewell when we were children. We used egg yolk with food coloring and a drop or two of water to make a paint that you brushed on before baking. When they come out of the oven,they have a glossy look.
    How much fun to have the girls helping you this year! I know about boys' help. Vicky

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