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christmas cookies!

Everyone is baking cookies and well, why wouldn't they...it's fun! If you have small (or older!) kids, it's a great way to spend some time together to decorate these simple but delicious cookies. Now, as much as I love decorating simple sugar cookies...the thing that I enjoy the most is actually eating them! So there are two requirements that I have for my Christmas cookies. One, that they are delicious. I want to be able to taste a crisp cookie on the outside with a semi-soft inside that isn't overly sweet so as to balance that of a sweet frosting. Also, as pretty as royal icing looks for the absolutely adorable designs that I see on the internet, I would rather a frosting/sprinkles that enhance the flavor of the cookie itself. The second requirement that I have is that it is easy! If you are like me, I have a million things going on during the holiday season, so keeping things simple is pretty important!


Voila, I found the perfect cookie recipe! This recipe is not my own as there are tons of sugar cookie recipes out there online but I have tried lots and this is the one that I like the most for flavor, texture and for the fact that it is easy to make. It was provided by one of my all time favorite bloggers, Half Baked Harvest. I have used her recipe before for the salty & sweet cookie skillet recipe (link is HERE) and she is one of my favorites. The reason that I chose her recipe is that she used brown sugar instead of white sugar and to me that gives it more depth of flavor to the cookie. The cookie itself is overwhelmingly sweet and it is balance perfectly with a light and delicious frosting. Toss in a few sprinkles, and it couldn't get any easier!

I picked up this cute little snowflake cookie cutter from Sur La Table a few days ago and I love the size of them. They are a bit small so this recipe made quite a few cookies...it was perfect to have some on hand when my friends came over for my birthday and also for a few gifts along the way. You can, of course, use any cookie cutter that you have on hand...if you don't have Christmas themed ones, you can always use the top of a glass or small bowl to make circles and decorate them like tree ornaments. If you don't have sprinkles, you can also separate the icing into small bowls and add different food coloring to create different colors for the icing and decorate that way. I like the crunch of the sprinkles and don't like using food coloring unless I absolutely have to, so that's the way that I went.

Aren't they cute? Most importantly, they are delicious and super fun to frost and sprinkle! The dough was pretty easy to work with and as Teagan recommended from Half Baked Harvest, I rolled out and cut the cookies and then froze them before baking. It worked perfectly!


Brown Sugar Cookies


Ingredients:

Cookies:

1 1/2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, at room temperature

2 cups plus 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt


Vanilla Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

assorted sprinkles, vanilla sugar and/or sanding sugar, for decorating

Vanilla Buttercream:

1 stick salted butter, at room temperature

2 oz of cream cheese, at room temperature (optional)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

assorted sprinkles, vanilla sugar and/or sanding sugar, for decorating


Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add vanilla, beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, beat until combined and the dough forms a ball.

  2. Divide the dough in half. Roll out the dough on a floured piece of parchment to 1/4 inch thickness. Make sure you're using enough flour or your dough will stick. Cut out the cookies using your desired shape/shapes. Carefully transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. I recommend using a floured spatula to lift the cookies. Cover the baking sheet and place in the freezer. Freeze until firm, about 20-30 minutes. Roll out the leftover scraps, and repeat with the remaining dough.

  3. Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until just lightly golden. Cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

  4. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water until smooth and drizzly. If needed, thin the glaze by adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until drizzly.

  5. To make the buttercream, in a bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until extra light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat together until whipped, about 2 more minutes.

  6. Decorate each cookie as desired with vanilla frosting, buttercream frosting, sprinkles, and or vanilla sugar.

Nom, nom, nom!!! This type of frosting doesn't harden as much as royal icing so I put them in the fridge and once everything hardened, I put them in bags and kept them in there until I was ready to eat them. I let them come to room temperature when I was ready to eat them. I hope that you enjoy these as much as I did!

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