The kids are at home during the school holidays and it won’t take long until boredom sets in. Let the kids get involved in making up a batch of Christmas cookies. I have found quite a few adorable ideas for cookies and I would like to share some with you…
The following recipe from the decorated cookie is for sugar cookies and is a quick and easy recipe that is ideal for kids to use.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and blend well. Add extracts and blend. Mix flour and salt and gradually add. Cover dough with plastic wrap (I usually put mine in a large Ziploc bag) and chill dough for about 2 hours. Don’t skip this. You must chill the dough.
Working with about 1/3 of the batch at a time, briefly knead the chilled dough and roll about 4 to 6mm thick.
Bake cookies on wax paper-lined baking trays at 180°C for 12-14 minutes. Thicker cookies may need up to 20 minutes. Just watch for edges that are nicely golden.
Note: You can also freeze dough. After mixing, put dough in a large ziploc bag (or wrap well) and freeze. Thaw overnight or for at least a few hours in the refrigerator in the ziploc bag. If too chilled to handle, let sit at room temperature for about 1/2 hour to 1 hour until it’s workable. Chilled is good, though, don’t let it get too mushy.
Mix up some royal icing for decorating the cookies. Use food colouring to mix up different colours for the kids to add to their Christmas cookies.
2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing
4 cups sifted icing sugar, or more to thicken icing
Juice of 1 lemon
3 drops glycerin
With a whisk, beat the whites until firm and stiff. Add sugar, lemon juice and glycerin and beat for 1 minute. If the icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it is too thin, add more sugar.
For something a little different, why not mix up a batch of gingerbread cookies. I found this recipe on glorious treats, my favourite cooking blog.
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbls baking powder
1 tbls ground ginger
1 tbls ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup butter
1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, gently stir together flour, baking powder, and all spices. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or other large bowl), beat butter until smooth. Add brown sugar, molasses, eggs and vanilla.
3. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated.
4. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, and flatten into rounded disk (about cm thick). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
5. When dough has chilled, preheat oven to 180°C. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness (6 to 8mm thick). Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies at least 2cm apart on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
Note: If the dough is too sticky or soft to work with, put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to firm up.
6. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depending on the size of cookies). Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
7. Frost with royal icing.