Sunday has become my favorite day of the week. Not only is it my Saturday, but it seems to be the laziest day of the week. Perfect for lounging and doing things slowly.
Last night some of my coworkers and I got together for a girls Christmas cookie night. Normally whenever I host a cookie party, I’m the one who ends up doing most of the work. That was not the case last night! Everyone came through and we ended up with several varieties of delicious Christmas cookies.
The menu consisted of classic cutout sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, corn flake wreaths, and peppermint candy canes & wreaths! I must say the cornflake wreaths were probably my favorite of the night. I’ve never made them myself, but I just love the crunchiness of them. Apart from baking, the night consisted of pizza, wine, and good conversation while watching the snow fall outside. Perfect winter night!
I had planned to wake up early to go snow shoeing this morning, but the combination of too much wine and sugar last night resulted in a later rising time than anticipated.
I got my snow shoes for Christmas last year but never had the opportunity to use then in Chicago. Since we’ve had about 8-10 inches of snow in Sioux Falls over the past week, I decided to give them a whirl this morning.
There’s a trail in Sioux Falls that goes around the whole city. I live very close to it, and decided to follow a little closer to the creek where the snow was deeper. It was such a nice escape. There was nobody out this morning, and the falling snow made it even more picturesque.
There were so many tiny animal tracks along the creek that I wanted to follow. Although the temperature was in the single digits and well below zero with the wind chill, I didn’t mind. Opportunities like this make living in the freezing midwest worth it. I’m officially a fan of snow shoeing!
On this evening I am glad to present a holiday classic: Sugar Cookies!
I followed a new recipe this year for my sugar cookies that can be found here. My recipe was slightly less precise due to the fact that I do not have a stand mixer, and have to settle for my handy dandy hand mixer. I also did not measure the thickness of my cookies in such a precise manner. Nevertheless, these cookies came out perfect!
Yield: About 3 dozen cookies
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Mix flour and baking powder in medium bowl.
- Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (hand mixers will work just fine!)
- Add egg and vanilla to butter mixture. Mix for another minute.
- Slowly add flour mixture.
- Mix until well combined.
- Take dough out of bowl and knead a few times on a flat surface, covered with parchment paper.
- Put dough in a large plastic ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 just before it is time to remove the dough from the refrigerator.
- Roll out about half the dough on a lightly floured flat surface. Cover dough with a piece of parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to the rolling pin. (This was a new tip I just learned this year!)
- Roll the dough until it is about 1/3 of an inch thick.
- Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut the dough and place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper of a Silpat.
- Bake cookies 8-10 minutes (I did 9) or until they just begin to turn golden.
- Remove cookies from oven and let cool for about a minute before moving to a cooling rack.
Once the cookies are completely cooled, whip up your favorite powder sugar frosting and get decorating! The frosting recipe I used this year is excellent. I found it on Annie’s Eats. I love nice and simple recipes, nothing fancy for this girl!
After frosting the cookies, I topped them off with some simple sprinkles. Mike actually helped me out on this step which made it go by much faster.
Look at that bad boy! I have to say these are some of the best sugar cookies I’ve had in the past couple Christmases. Thank you so much to the bloggers who helped me out with the recipes! I will definitely be recreating these later this month and may even use the same recipe for another holiday. Valentine’s cookies, perhaps?
I’m known for getting in the Christmas spirit a little too early. Like months too early. I’m not opposed to listening to Christmas music before Halloween hits. When December rolls around, and it is officially acceptable to become immersed in all things Christmas, my enthusiasm for my favorite holiday peaks.
While I love Christmas shopping, Christmas movies and Christmas decorations, my favorite thing of all is Christmas baking! The Christmas weather has not hit Chicago just yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from diving into some delicious treats. Over the next three weeks, I will be posting 12 Christmas cookie recipes. Some new, some old, some classic, and some experimental. I’d like to call this little segment:
Now, since I am one of the top ten busiest college students ever (totally not exaggerating), it’s going to take me until right up until Christmas to post 12 different cookies. To kick things off, I’m going to share a cookie recipe that is new to me this season: Betty Crocker’s Reindeer Tracks
I picked this gem out of a Christmas Cookie recipe book that I picked up at Dominick’s last week.
Reindeer Tracks Ingredients:
- 2 1/3 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups all purpose and substituted whole wheat for the rest. My feeble attempt to add nutrition)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 (12 oz) package white vanilla baking chips
- 1 (8 0z) package mini peanut butter cup candies
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pretzel twists
- Heat oven to 350 degrees, lightly spray cookie sheets or use a silpat.
- In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended.
- Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until blended.
- Stir in baking chips, peanut butter cup candies and pretzels
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until lightly browned. Immediately remove cookies onto cooling racks.
The ingredient that absolutely made these cookies was the peanut butter cups.
These cookies were a huge hit. Mike actually ate SIX of them in a row. Yes, that’s a true story. Remember how I said he’s slightly apprehensive about trying healthy recipes? The same does not hold true when it comes to cookies. These cookies are so good, they get a special little spot in my apartment.
Behold, the Nutcracker cookie jar!
My mom got me this little guy last time I was home. He’s awesome! In addition to sharing cookie recipes over the next few weeks, I have a lot of fitness related things going on. I just started a new workout plan that is absolutely kicking my butt. I was planning on sharing it in this post, but somehow cookies and exercise just don’t go together in my head. Hopefully I will get a chance to share it this week!