No matter how busy this time of year can be, I always find time to make Christmas cookies!
While I love baking, I try not to eat the entire yield, which is rather tempting now that I live alone, so I often bring cookies to work. My team and I sit near a highly-trafficked printer, so this strategy a good way to protect my waistline and connect with coworkers throughout the day.
This past weekend, I made a big batch of my all-time favorite sugar cookies—Martha’s Stewart’s Old-Fashioned sugar cookies. They’re soft, they’re chewy, they’re lemony—they’re pretty much everything I look for in a sugar cookie. And, for a homemade cookie, they are relatively easy to make and require no unusual ingredients, which means no frantic trips to a holiday-level-crowded grocery store.
I’ve shared the recipe for these cookies below—and also included a link to Courtney’s delicious Grinch Crinkle Cookies at the end of this post. For the second year in a row, I’ve teamed up with 10 of my favorite bloggers for a virtual cookie exchange so that you have nearly a dozen great recipe ideas at your fingertips! Calories don’t count during the holidays you know ;]!
Here’s what you’ll need and the recipe:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks), softened
- 2 large eggs
- Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl, then set aside. (As an aside, sometimes I’m too lazy to sift and the cookies still turn out fine!)
- Put sugars and lemon zest in a large bowl bowl. Mix on medium speed with a hand mixer for 30 seconds. Add butter, then mix until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs, one at a time, and then add the lemon juice. Reduce the mixer speed speed and gradually add in flour mixture. Mix until well combined.
- For best results, chill the dough for at least one hour. If you want to roll out the dough for cookie cutters, I’d definitely chill the dough over night.
- When ready to bake, scoop dough using a two-inch ice cream scoop. Space the dough balls two inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten cookies slightly with a spatula. If you aren’t going to ice the cookies, you can sprinkle the top with sanding sugar, then lightly brush with a wet pastry brush and then sprinkle with more sanding sugar. Since I knew I was going to be decorating my cookies, I skipped this step.
- Bake cookies until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely before decorating* or eating. Enjoy!
* These were super easy to decorate—all I did was ice them using vanilla icing, and then I drew abstract Christmas trees using green decorative icing. For the ornaments, I used colorful ball sprinkles. The result is so cute and requires minimal effort or skill.