Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Tree Cookies

Our friend Margie always gave us a variety of cookies at Christmas. When I left D.C. for Japan I asked  for the sugar cookie recipe. “Why do you always make them into Christmas trees?” Her reply, “They cover the plate!” Lucy (from Snoopy) was onto something when she said, “I never get what I really want (at Christmas).” Charlie Brown asked Lucy, “What do you really want?” Lucy said, “Real estate.” As an homage to Margie, cut out Christmas trees, use green frosting, and add red cinnamon candies for decor. You can't help but love these melt Christmas in your mouth cookies, and they take up a lot of plate.

Christmas Tree Cookies
Ingredients
Unsalted Butter, 1 cup (2 sticks) 
Sugar, 1 cup
Eggs, 2
Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp
All-Purpose Flour, 3 cups
Kosher Salt, 1 tsp

Directions
  1. Using a standing mixer fitted with the paddle on the lowest setting, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and paddle to insure that the butter is completely mixed into the sugar.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, about 1 minute. 
  3. Add the vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and salt together (I usually just mix it with a fork).
  5. Add the flour mix into the sugar mix until just combined. Do not over mix as it toughens the cookie dough.
  6. Divide into 2 balls, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate dough until chilled (I usually do 30 minutes, but the recipe says 3 hours).
  7. On a lightly floured silicon mat or workspace, roll out a small amount of dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut with various cookie cutter shapes. Place onto cookie sheets lined with either parchment paper or silicon mats. Reroll leftover dough but know that the more flour you add and handle,the tougher the cookie.
  8. Bake 350ºF until barely turning brown (too white can be doughy), 9 to 12 minutes.
  9. Allow cookies to rest on the cookie sheet 1 to 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.
  10. When cookies are at room temperature, frost and decorate with sprinkles.

Christmas Tree Cookie Frosting
Unsalted Butter, ½ cup
Kosher Salt, ¼ tsp
Confectioners (Powdered) Sugar, 2 cups
Vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp
Whole Milk, ~3 Tbsp
Green food coloring, a few drops

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle on the lowest setting, mix butter, salt, and sugar until well blended, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and then the milk 1 Tbsp at a time until the desired consistency is reached-- spreadable and smooth. Add a drop or two of food coloring until the desired color intensity is reached. Frost cookies, add sprinkles, and store in an airtight container. Stays fresh for several days.


Christmas Tree Cookies