Next week, our family will have its annual Cookie-Making Party. Actually, it’s a Cookie-Decorating Party. In the spirit of fun competition, we gather to create the Best in Class in categories we make up as we go along. My son-in-law, Robert, smoked us all in his first year with us with a 3D Christmas tree. He was a rookie trying to make a name for himself, and we were stunned by his raw, newcomer talent. We kept that famous cookie in the fridge for close to 9 months, a petrified testament to Cookie Greatness.
I won “Best Use of Shading” with this snowman.
Meghan won the “Ethereal Theme Award” with her multi-cultural angelic creations. Love the hair.
Grayson got the “Academic Cookie Award” with his slope intercept equation.
Lauren got the “Best Use of a Classic Theme” with this fireplace scene.
Robert tried to top his 3D tree this year, but got overly ambitious and it backfired on him.
Tom had a migraine and was unable to participate in the festivities, but he occasionally called out encouragement as the competition tightened. Secretly, we were glad he couldn’t pull out one of his “Best Contemporary Designs,” as he has in the past. It leveled the playing field just a bit to compete without him.
Here’s the recipe we use. The buttery cookie base is just perfect for the sweet almond-y frosting. You will be in Cookie Heaven. Look! Only 3 ingredients!
Christmas Cutout Cookies
1 1/2 c butter, soft
3/4 c sugar
3 1/3 c flour
Mix in large mixing bowl at low speed. Roll out 3/8 inches thick, cut into desired shapes Bake at 300 for 15-20 min (ours never go that long, so watch for browning). If dough doesn’t stick together, add drops of evap. milk or half and half.
Icing: Mix about a bag a powdered sugar with 1 stick of soft butter (or less) Add small amounts of milk until it is a smooth (not too thick) consistency. Add 1-2 tsp. almond flavoring, the secret of cutout cookie deliciousness. Divide up into bowls and stir in food coloring (red, green, blue, yellow, leave one bowl with white). Have colorful sprinkles on hand, along with toothpicks and small plastic knives for swirling designs around. Give each person a paper plate to work over, to keep the sprinkles from going EVERYWHERE.
Hint: Toothpicks make great decorating tools: you can dip one in frosting, then touch a sprinkle and it sticks to it! Then you can place those itty bitty sprinkles in perfect places to make stunningly perfect patterns. Your friends will be wowed.
And when you get sick of such attention to detail, then just sprinkle away. It’s all good.