Happy Monday friends!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and baking cookies at Christmas is a must, right?!!
In our cozy, front-porch adorned neighborhood, every Christmas season, someone hosts a cookie exchange.
It doesn’t take a financial windfall, just a bit of time to send out the community email, organize “who’s bringing what,” and passion for the task at hand. It’s an awesome way to bring neighbors together that you would not ordinarily talk to and a quiet calm in the holiday storm to catch up with friends.
Sometimes, when life is a bit busier in order to stay UNSTUCK at Christmas, we have to edit a self-expectation or two, or three. As much as I love this ritual I have had years when store-bought was best. One year I even bought PLAIN SUGAR COOKIES at my local grocery and just had my daughter DECORATE them with me. Half the work. All the fun.
If this is a year when you do have the time, I shared my favorite simple recipe in our Quest to an Unstuck Christmas this past week so I thought I would share it with you here along with some Amazon links for the things I use to help make it all easier.
SIMPLE SUGAR COOKIES sound good right about now. I found this on www.aspicyperspective.com. There’s nothing more comforting than a good cry and baking cookies!!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, measured then sifted
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened (1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar + extra for rolling
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Place the softened butter and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer (I have actually had my bright yellow Kitchen Aide for 10 years!). Cream the butter and sugar together on high until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. (Don’t skimp on the time here.) Then turn the mixer on low and add the eggs and vanilla extract. Scrape the bowl.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly add the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl and beat again for 30 seconds.
- Pour some extra sugar into a bowl to coat the cookies. Scoop the dough out and roll into 1-inch balls. The dough should be soft and delicate – Don’t over-handle. Shake each ball in the sugar bowl to coat, then place on the cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press down on each ball, until it’s 1/3 – 1/2 inch thick.
- Bake each sheet of sugar cookies for 9-11 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and the centers are just barely set. Cool completely on the cookie sheets.
BOURBON GLAZE: Once the cookies are cool, whisk 1 tablespoon of cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon bourbon together. Then whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Dip the face of each cookie into the glaze. Allow the excess to dip off, then place them back on the parchment paper to dry.
Here’s a “Cookie Exchange Roadmap” that I viewed on MarthaStewart.com (8 Steps to Hosting a Cookie Swap) Obviously, this one is going to be a “fancy schmansy” version, but it’s a nice guide to the planning process. It certainly doesn’t have to be grand. The Cookie Exchange is just a way to bring friends and neighbors together in a fun way AND eat some great food.
I’d love to hear your favorite cooking tools and ideas to keep Christmas UNSTUCK!!
BTW–My book Life Unstuck would make a lovely gift for someone you love–I’m just sayin’ :))