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Ingredients For Old-Fashioned Jolly Santa Sugar & Spice Cookies 4½ cups bleached all-purpose flour ¾ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground allspice ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened ½ cup solid vegetable shortening 1 cup granulated sugar ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract ½ teaspoon pure almond extract 3 large eggs For Grandma’s Sugar Cookie Icing 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted 2 teaspoons milk 2 teaspoons light corn syrup ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract For the Embellishments Assorted food colorings, such as pink and red that we used Tinted sanding sugars, such as pink and red Semisweet chocolate chips, for Jolly Santa’s “eyes” Preparation Prepare the Cookies: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and spices. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening, sugars and extracts. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well blended and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually beat in flour mixture, scraping down side of bowl as necessary, until fully incorporated. Dough will be soft and sticky. Divide dough into thirds and roll in between wax paper. Transfer to cookie sheets and chill in refrigerator until firm, about 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 335ºF. (Yes, these cookies bake best between 325ºF. and 350ºF.) Line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured surface or pastry cloth, roll out cookie dough. Flour cookie cutter each time before use and, with Aunt Chick’s Jolly Santa cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Place cutouts at least 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets and add chocolate chips for Jolly Santa’s “eyes” gently pressing into dough. Halfway through baking time, to ensure even browning, rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back. Bake until edges are just starting to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 3 to 5 minutes. Using a metal cookie spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies are ready to decorate when completely cooled. If necessary, store cookies in an airtight container until ready to decorate. Prepare the Icing: In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth and creamy. Beat in light corn syrup and almond extract until mixture is glossy. If sugar cookie icing is too thick, add a tiny bit more corn syrup. Divide icing into separate small prep bowls if using food colorings. Tint each bowl of icing as desired. Decorate the Cookies: Ice and decorate with Grandma’s Sugar Cookie Icing. Paint cookies using a new, clean, fine paint brush for detail work. Embellish as desired with tinted sugars and allow to dry completely. We like to work on sheets of wax paper and then allow cookies to dry completely on wire racks.
Contributed by Brianna Kay Colbert
As a francophone and fan of French culture, I love the Bûche de Noël. This is a cake made in France to celebrate Christmas. Here's a recipe that's great if you want to try something new this year or if you're in a French language class and having a celebration.
Contributed by Lily Wangler