Classic Sugar Cookies for Holiday Baking Fun

classic sugar cookies

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I have to admit that I loves me some Christmas. While I think it should all start after Thanksgiving I do admit to feeling that little sparkle when the weather starts turning cold. I start getting excited about all of the decorations, the baking and the general fun! Now that we have switched from a real tree to an artificial tree I can put it up earlier and enjoy it for longer. Baking is also a big part of the holiday season – cookies especially. Classic sugar cookies are a big favorite. I love all of the possibilities in their decorating.


My Christmas tree, Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart, Hallmark Ornaments, #SendHallmark, #CollectiveBias, #sponsored

Holiday Memories on a Tree

I look so forward to decorating; my tree is full of memories. There are ornaments from 39 holidays with my husband on our tree. Every time we went on a trip we bought an ornament to remind us of the locale. Any milestone in our life was marked with a trinket for the tree.

christmas ornaments, snowy owl

My nieces and nephews have given us many a remembrance as well. I read The Grinch and One Fish, Two Fish to them so many times I had the stories memorized. They remembered! One year they gave me ornaments memorializing both books. Every year when I pull them out I’m reminded of those happy times.

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christmas ornaments, mischievous kittens

Favorite Ornaments

Many of my favorites are Hallmark Ornaments; I’ve been collecting the Mischievous Kitten series since they were first issued.  I like to keep them all together in place on the tree so I can look at them and smile. Those kittens get into all manner of trouble! I can’t wait to get this year’s ornament.

I have to admit that A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my favorite holiday shows. It gave me a great idea for cookie baking – and decorating. I really ramp up my baking around the holidays and I make more cookies in the last two months of the year than I make the previous ten.

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classic sugar cookies

Classic Sugar Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

For the Royal Icing
3 TBS meringue powder
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
5 TBS water plus more to thin
1 TBS pure vanilla extract

natural or gel dyes

making classic sugar cookies

Preheat the oven to 375°
Cream the butter in a stand mixer or in a bowl with a hand mixer.
Add the sugars and beat for about 4 minutes.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and mix on low until just incorporated.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and form into a ball.
Cut the ball in half. Refrigerate the half you are not using.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4″

cutting out classic sugar cookies
It seems I have a few tree cookie cutters. Ah-hem

Cut out cookies with cookie cutters and move them carefully to cookie sheets lined with parchment or silicone mats
Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until the cookies are just starting to brown

baked classic sugar cookies
Cool on a wire rack.
Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Make the Royal Icing:
Add all ingredients to a stand mixer and beat on low for about 10 minutes
Separate the icing into separate bowls depending on how many colors you will be using.
For the icing you want to “fill” a cookie – thin with additional water 1 TBS at at time until it is of a consistency that will spread easily but not run.

Then the fun begins!

You can decorate the cookies any way you would like.

I chose to do a few different designs; some I filled with green icing. Others were made to look like decorated Christmas trees with a sparkle gel, I used the grass tip on my decorating bag to simulate pine needles and I “drew” on branches. I kept to the one color of icing except for the sparkle gel so that the effect was cohesive.

decorated classic sugar cookies

How Were the Classic Sugar Cookies?

I was really happy with how they came out. I can also tell you they were very tasty cookies. The nutmeg adds just a hint of unexpected flavor.

I was also thinking that a nice plate of cookies and a holiday ornament would make a wonderful gift. Don’t you love receiving a homemade gift?  Any number of themes are possible where an ornament and cookies can combine to make a perfect present.

Who doesn’t love cookies?


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