Retro Christmas Sugar Cookies
Get the kids to the table or have some friends over for a fun Christmas cookie decorating party. It could be like paint night! Does champagne go with sugar cookies?
Delicious sweet vanilla with just a touch of saltiness. ( I use salted butter) These cookies are not meant to be perfect or stuffy.
Who doesn't love a tender sweet sugar cookie! I usually make Sparkling Snowflake Sugar Cookies at Christmas but this year I wanted to ship some to family so I decided it was time for a new design that was a bit sturdier but just as festive and tasty.
I looked through my cabinet of cookie cutters and decided to start with my grandma's Christmas tree cutter, then I added a few cut with my new star for some contrast.
I like to mix up my designs using two different cutters and stay within a color scheme that I can mix and match. This color scheme was fun because I could make gifts of a few cookies that went together in many fun combinations.
I used a retro theme of silver, gold and sky blue with a wash of pearl dust, then topped the cookies with some non-perils and coarse sugar sparkles. I had the blue and white non-perils from making Sparkling Snowflake Sugar Cookies so I picked up some gold ones to give the cookies a push toward that retro feel. Together with a little blue icing, I think it came together pretty well.
I'd never used a pearl dust before so I did some research and found several people who had a sad experience with the gold pearl dust turning green. I'm happy to say that mine did not turn green and I was really very happy with the results. I also found it simple to use and clean up. Win Win!
Sugar cookie dough can be incredibly stiff. It has to be for the cookies to keep their shape while baking. It's also important to put the ingredients together in order so that all of the ingredients are mixed together well.
You might notice this recipe contains fewer eggs than other sugar cookie recipes. This keeps the cookie from rising and puffing up too much. It makes a crisp, yet tender, flat cookie that's perfect for decorating.
After mixing the dough as directed, chill the dough for at least an hour to let the flour become hydrated. Then you can allow the dough to warm up for about 20 minutes before rolling and cutting. You don't want the dough to get too warm though or the cookies will spread in the oven and not have as crisp a shape as you might like.
Mixing the Pearl Powder
The directions say to mix a small quantity of powder with lemon extract but online I found several people were using vodka or other clear edible alcohol based products. I opted for the vodka because I didn't want to mix in the lemon extract to otherwise very vanilla flavored cookies. It left no flavor at all and worked perfectly.
I purchased some paint brushes from Wilton this year so that I could have a nice set a paint brushes reserved specifically for working with food. Please don't just wash up your kids water color paint brushes and use those, yuck!
The set is about $7 for 5 unique brushes that are perfect for this and they will last for years.There's are a nice stocking stuffer or hostess gift idea for any cookie baker you know.
These retro Christmas Cookies were a lot of fun to decorate and I've found a fun new product that I am really pleased with. I was hoping to get an overall Charlie Brown Christmas/ Rankin and Bass feel. What do you think? Did it work?
If you enjoyed this post you might like these!
Retro Christmas Sugar Cookies
For the cookies
2/3 cup room temperature real butter
1 cup sugar
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp real vanilla extract
Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer then add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
Add the salt and baking powder to the flour then slowly begin adding the flour mixture 1 cup at a time to the butter/sugar mixture, mixing well with each addition. Add the milk to the dough as it becomes very stiff with the last cup of flour.
Refrigerate the dough cut into two pieces as illustrated above for at least one hour.
Roll the dough on a floured counter. Cut with cookie cutters and place cookies on a cool parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-9 minutes in a 375 degree oven turning the pans and switching them between top and bottom racks half way through to ensure even baking.
For the Icing
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
6 Tablespoons whole milk
6 Tablespoons light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
I use a whisk to combine sugar and milk until it's smooth, then stir in corn syrup, extract and Wilton food coloring until I have the color I'm looking for.
Pipe an edge with a small round tip and a disposable piping bag with medium firm frosting. When when the edge is dried, flood the cookie with a fairly thin (runny) texture of frosting using a small spoon or the tines of a fork.
Allow to dry and then decorate the top as desired.