This year, I am the Christmas Queen. SERIOUSLY. I am so incredibly proud of myself because I have NOT waited until the very last minute for my gifts. Usually, things get pretty down to the wire for me and I wind up finding myself staring at the impossibly long line at the post office praying that I can get things out on-time, then paying an arm and a leg to insure that possibility becomes a reality. But not this year, friends. This year, your girl started shopping a full TWO (2) months in advance. Granted, that first purchase was actually for myself (holiday cards), and I didm't buy anything else for a month, but it COUNTS. I will say this though: I've been behind on my holiday cookie making/ consumption. Only ONE batch of classically-Christmas cookies (oo alliteration) has made it out of the kitchen, and it's already December 21st! I'm ashamed. BUT, I plan to make up for this in the coming weeks. First up: these very lightly spiced (+ everything nice) Christmas cookies!
These are very, very simple cookies meant for when you want a taste, but you don't have a ton of time to fuss. The base is a classic sugar dough recipe, but with a hint of every single spice you have ever associated with Fall/winter.
These cookies are crispy, buttery and a bit little crunchy from the optional topping of Demerara sugar, which I recommend because not only does it add an extra layer of texture, it also makes your cookies sparkle like they're supposed at Christmas time. And although these cookies do have spice, it's only a hint. I like it because it elevates your sugar cookie, and gives it a little more oomph. These cookies are for sugar cookie purists looking to fray a little from the pack. Go crazy, but not too crazy, know what I mean?
LIGHTY SPICED + EVERYTHING NICE CHRISTMAS COOKIES
What You'll Need:
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Demerara sugar for topping, optional
Whisk the spices, salt, baking powder, and 3 cups flour in a small bowl. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer, or a wooden spoon), beat the butter and sugar on high speed until well-combined. Next, add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract, and beat until combined. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl if necessary.
Reduce the speed to low, then add about half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Then, add the rest and mix until combined; be careful not to over mix.
Form the dough into two 3/4 inch thick disks (you should see flecks of spices throughout the dough), wrap each disk in plastic wrap, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Let one disk of dough come to room temperature on the counter for 5-10 minutes so that is softens slightly. On a sheet of parchment paper that has been lightly floured, roll out the first disk of dough to 1/4 inch thickness, dusting with flour if it gets too sticky. Make sure to also flour your rolling pin, and cookie cutters. Cut out shapes with your cookie cutters, then transfer to the cookie sheets. Leave about 1 inch of space between each cookie.
Bake cookies about 12-16 minutes, rotating from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking, until the edges are lightly golden brown. If using, immediately sprinkle Demerara sugar liberally on the tops of each cookie, then let them sit for five minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
TO STORE: Cookies will last for at least a week if kept in an airtight container.