Monday, December 21, 2009

family traditions through sugar cookie cut-outs

As a child, there was always a strong kitchen presence in my upbringing. To say that I was inexperienced at baking and cooking would be a terrible lie, and I honestly, looked forward most to the moments where I would spend time concocting the next-best-thing for the Strauss' mouths with many of my loved ones.

Of course, it would be unnatural to not carry on several of the traditional family recipes, intermixed with a handful of new dishes and desserts, because they too were once new to our dining scene. While Thanksgiving deals mostly with entrees and side dishes, Christmas' forerunners are always the desserts.

December, for me, is incomplete without spending an evening mixing, flattening, cutting and baking my grandmother's recipe for sugar cookie cut-outs. Simple and classic, the holiday-shaped cookies are tasty and flavorful, and make for not only, a fun baking session, but also ideal drink dunking. (My grandmother loved hers plopped in a steamy cup of coffee.)

Naomi Strauss' Cut-Out Cookies

4 cups of flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter (or margarine)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons of baking powder
milk (as much as an egg shell can hold)

Combine the above ingredients together, and then form into a ball. Lightly flour a counter top surface and roll the dough as thin as pie crust. Take several cookie cutters and cut the dough into desired shapes. Bake cut cookies on a greased cookie sheet, at 350 degrees until browned, about 12 minutes.

The rolled-out cookies work well as is, but if you wish to add pizazz and color to your butter-colored cookies, dash sprinkles or decorating sugars atop the baked shapes shortly after they exit the oven. A simple frosting may also be slathered on the cookies and here's an easy recipe:


1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 tablespoon(s) milk
Food coloring

Mix all of the above until well-combined, and chill briefly before adding on top of cooled cookies.

Also published here.