When the holiday season rolls around, baking kicks into high gear. But amongst all of the tarts, yule logs, rolls, and breads; there is one treat that stands head and shoulders above the rest. It is the classic sugar cookie. Better still… a vintage recipe that evokes childhood memories of the holiday season.
A sugar cookie is the classic rolled cookie dough. It can take many forms. During the Christmas season, this rolled dough is traditionally cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Festive plates of these cookies may take the form of bells, candy canes, Santa Clauses, stars, wreaths, and Christmas trees. This cookie is also commonly decorated with icing or colored dusting sugars. And if you were a believer in Santa Claus, these cookies generally made an appearance on the plate left out for the big guy.
This particular recipe adapted from the original which is attributed to Mrs. Edgar Fahr and Mrs. Martha Menke from the Favorite Recipes cookbook (1964 edition) sponsored by St. John Ladies’ Aid. I grew up eating this cookie, but over the years, began making tweaks to suit my tastes.
Powdered Sugar Cookie
- 1 C. powdered sugar
- 1 C. butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 C. flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
Cream together powdered sugar and butter until well combined. Next, beat in one egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix well.
Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until incorporated. Chill the dough for one hour.
Then roll out on a well floured surface and rub flour across rolling pin surface as dough will be sticky. NOTE: this works for a wooden rolling pin. Roll dough out to approximately 1/8″ thickness or slightly thicker.
Cut into various shapes with assorted cookie cutters. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or reusable Silpat® (siliconized rubber mat that is easy to clean).
If decorating with just dusting sugar, dust before putting cookies in the oven. Bake in a pre-heated oven set to 325F for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden. Allow the cookies to cool before icing them.
These cookies hold a special place in my heart. My mom made these just before Christmas and she made batch after batch of them. Then these baked and decorated cookies were placed into containers and then they went to the freezer until it was time to set platters of these cookies for family gatherings. (And Santa enjoyed these every year… or at least that is what we thought given that the cookies we left out for him were gone in the morning).
Go ahead and give this vintage recipe a try. The crisp texture and buttery flavor will have you going back for more. And who knows… maybe your little ones will ask you to make these for Santa?