I don’t know about you, but when I think of Christmas desserts, I immediately think of butter cookies, sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies with fancy and colourful decorations! It really is a perfect dessert… they’re delicious, festive, and they even make great gifts! I mean who doesn’t love a tin full of cookies?
What makes this time of the year special?
At our house, Christmas is the favourite holiday of the year. For me personally, I love the build-up. Christmas is only one day but the build up makes it feel more like a month long celebration! People are generally a little happier, a little more polite, and a little more generous around the holidays. I think this can be for a number of reasons; maybe it’s because of people’s faith, maybe it’s because of the family and friend get-togethers, it could be because of the look on kids’ faces when they open the perfect gift, or maybe it’s the special feeling of helping others in need.
How do you celebrate your Christmas?
Both Liz and I usually take some time off around Christmas. We use this time to do some fun things with the kids and visit family and friends we haven’t seen in a while. Somewhere around Christmas day, we get together with Liz’s parents and siblings for a nice dinner and quality time with each-other. We love seeing everyone that day, but it’s an extra special treat because we get to see our niece! She’s the youngest of the family and even though she’s five we still consider her the baby of the family. She’s super cute, has lots of stories to tell and enjoys hanging out with her cousins (our boys)!
Since my parents live in Portugal, we don’t get to spend time with them, which is unfortunate, but we’ll be connecting with them through live video for sure! Technology is completely new to them, so it’s cute to watch them struggle with the iPad and appear mostly off screen 🙂 throughout the video chat–but we make it work.
7 days to go!
Christmas is just a week away. Our little guy is now reminding us of the countdown daily 🙂 We meant to do this a few days ago, but since it’s been quite busy, today was our cookie decorating day. I used a butter cookie recipe from mom’s book of traditions and Liz and Daniel did the decorating with icing and sprinkles. Michael did more eating than decorating… ah, those teenage appetites!
Let us know how you celebrate the festive season in the comments below. Whatever it is that you’re celebrating around this time of the year, we wish you peace, good health and happiness. Enjoy the holidays with the ones you love, and eat well, friends!
Christmas butter cookies are delicious and perfect for decorating for the holidays! Make a batch, decorate them with the kids and offer some as gifts!
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 6 cups unbleached flour (all purpose is also fine)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Sprinkles or other favourite cookie decorations
Whisk the salt into the flour.
In a large mixer bowl (with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugar at medium-high speed (about 2 to 3 minutes).
Reduce the mixer to medium speed and add one egg at-a-time.
Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix for 1 minute.
Lower the mixer to the lowest speed and slowly add the flour to the mixture.
Mix for about 5 minutes, until the dough ingredients are full incorporated.
Using your (clean) hands, divide the cookie dough in half and form two dough balls.
Wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap and press down to form a thick wheel.
Place the dough wheels in the fridge for at least an hour or for up to two days. Note: If you plan on using this dough with a cookie press instead of rolling it out, you can use the dough at the stage and bypass the fridge step.
Preheat the oven to 350 ºF.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove one of the dough wheels from the fridge.
Lightly flour a clean countertop or large cutting board and place the wheel on the flour.
Lightly flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin.
Gently roll out the dough four or five times.
Flour the dough and turn it over.
Lightly flour the top again and roll again.
Repeat the last four steps until the dough is roughly 1/2 cm (0.2 inches) thick.
Use cookie cutter shapes to cut out your cookies and gently place them on the baking sheet (with the parchment paper), a couple of centimetres away from each-other. Note: the dough is very soft and should be handled gently in order to keep the shapes from breaking.
Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 13 minutes.
Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let them finish cooling for 10 minutes before decorating, storing or eating.
Repeat until all cookies are baked. Enjoy!
- You can prepare the dough and refrigerate it up to 2 days in advance.
- You can bake the cookies ahead of time and decorate a day or two later
- You can use this cookie dough with a cookie press or biscuit press. If this is what you're doing, use the dough at room temperature. The cookie press will work better with softer dough.
- In the interest of time, we used store bought icing for piping. Here's a very nice YouTube video on how to make Royal Icing for Piping and Flooding.