Holiday season is cookie season! We are all about cookies this month: baking, decorating, gifting and hosting the classic cookie exchange. Today, we’re kicking off 30 days of holiday cookies, so be sure to check back every day for a new recipe! And for more inspiration and great recipes, visit our Cookie Central page.
Sugar cookies are a holiday tradition in many households, delicious eaten plain and are even better when decorated with icing and sprinkles. Box up these cookies for friends and family for their holiday celebrations.
2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 3/4 cup (9 oz./280 g.) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Royal icing for decorating (below), optional
Chocolate Ganache Filling for cookie sandwiches (below), optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Have ready 2 ungreased baking sheets.
In a food processor, combine the butter and granulated sugar and pulse until creamy. Add the egg and pulse 5 or 6 times until fluffy and blended. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the food processor and process until blended, about 45 seconds. Add the remaining flour in two batches, processing after each addition until the dough is smooth.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface, shape into a ball, and then roll out 1/8 inch (3 mm.) thick. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into desired shapes. Then, using a spatula, transfer the cutouts to the baking sheets. Gather up the dough scraps, form into a ball, roll out and cut more shapes, and add to the baking sheets.
Bake until lightly browned on the bottom and pale golden on top, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer to the racks to cool completely.
Decorate the cooled cookies with royal icing (below) or use Chocolate Ganache Filling (below) to make cookie sandwiches. Makes about 36 cookies.
2 large egg whites
1 lb. (500 g.) confectioners’ sugar, or more if needed
1 tsp. water, if needed
Food coloring (optional)
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the egg whites and 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar until stiff enough to spread, about 10 minutes. If the icing is too stiff, beat in 1 teaspoon water. If it is too thin, continue beating for 2-3 minutes longer, or beat in another 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) confectioners’ sugar. Use immediately before the icing starts to thicken.
To make different-colored icings, divide the icing among several bowls and add food coloring as desired. (Start with just a drop of food coloring and go from there.) Using a knife or spatula, spread the icing on cookies. Makes 1 cup.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
6 oz. (185 g.) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) heavy cream
In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and butter.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate and butter. Stir with a wire whisk until the chocolate and butter melt and are smooth. Let cool until spreadable.
Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 2 days, and then bring to room temperature and whisk briefly before using. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.