I love Christmas.
Nothing makes me happier than an excuse to give people baked goods.
My very favorite Christmas cookie is rooted in a sweet childhood memory: Large, smooth-iced sugar cookies my grandparents always bought me when we’d visit the local farmer’s market. They were soft on the bottom and crunchy on the top and always came in such beautiful colors and shapes (the purple tulip was my favorite). I spent many hours poring over recipe books and online trying to recreate the memory I had of these thick, crunchy cookies since the bakery that made them is long gone. I finally figured it out and make them for any holiday or occasion I can think of.
You can chill the dough for up to 3 days in the fridge or you can use it right away. Either way, I always chill it for at least 15 minutes in the freezer once the cookies are on the sheets so that they keep their shape while baking.
As with all royal icing, this recipe takes about a day to set completely. If I’m in a hurry, I just used 1 cup powdered sugar to 2 tbsp milk and a splash of vanilla. It gets almost as hard in about 10 minutes.
Market Sugar Cookies
1 ½ cups butter (1 stick unsalted, 2 sticks salted)
2 cups sugar
5 cups flour
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until white and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
Place 1 in apart on baking sheet and cook for 6-8 min or until light golden brown.
Yield 3 dozen large cookies
Wilton Royal Icing
3 tbsp meringue powder
1 lb powdered sugar
6 tbsp water
Beat on low for 7-10 minutes. Add ½ tsp vanilla and beat an additional minute. Thin with water as necessary.