We are on week two of my Christmas Cookie Countdown, where I will be sharing a favorite Christmas cookie recipe every week until Christmas. Last week I featured the first Christmas cookie, peanut butter blossoms. Christmas cookie #2 is a favorite of mine that my grandma bakes. I don't know what it is about her sugar cookies that makes them so special. Maybe it's the way she slices them very thin, making them perfectly crisp and melt in your mouth delicious!
My grandma is a wonderful baker. This year has been very special for her because she was not only featured in Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine (which I blogged about here), but she was also interviewed by her local newspaper for a four page spread on her Christmas baking. This old-fashioned sugar cookie recipe was featured in both the magazine and the newspaper. I absolutely loved the newspaper article because they shared the stories behind all of the cookie recipes and they have several quotes from my grandma talking about all of the preparation that she puts into her Christmas baking. I learned so many new things from this article. My grandma starts her Christmas baking for the family the first week of October, baking one type of cookie each week and freezing them until Christmas (starting first with the cookies that freeze the best). Now that I think about it, you would have to start that early if you were baking for 6 children, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren! She also spends one full day in December with my grandpa, packaging the cookies and sorting them out for each family. She puts a lot of hard work and love into her Christmas baking, and that's why getting a sack full of her cookies at Christmas is so special to not only me, but the entire family.
I will have a few more cookie recipes of my grandma's to share in the coming weeks, and I'm also going to do a separate blog post this week on her tips for freezing cookies. Meanwhile, I hope you will try her old-fashioned sugar cookie recipe and share them with your family this holiday season!
I decided to roll some in sugar and keep some plain
1 cup margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten (optional-only need if rolling in nonpareis/sprinkles)
Colored nonpareils/sprinkles (optional)
In a large bowl, beat margarine with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the oleo mixture. Divide dough in half.*Shape each portion of dough into a 12 inch long roll (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for three to four hours or until dough is firm enough to slice.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush chilled logs with beaten egg white, then roll in colored nonpareils to coat.(optional)** Cut rolls into 1/3 inch thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in a preheated oven for six to seven minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for one minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack. Let cool. Makes about 64 cookies.
*For cutout cookies, instead of rolling dough into logs, cover each dough half and chill for 3-4 hours or until dough is easy to handle. On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to 1/4 inch thick. Continue to chill remaining dough. Using 2 1/2 - 3-inch cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. If desired sprinkle cutouts with colored sugar and bake as above. Makes about 48 cookies.
**For frosted cookies, prepare cookies as directed above, except don't roll and sprinkle with sugar before baking. Bake and cool cookies as directed. Frost cookies as desired.