Christmas Cookies

Christmas just wouldn”t be the same without all of the wonderful treats we get to eat around the holidays. One of the best and most beloved Christmas treats is the Christmas cookie. From sugar cookies shaped like snowflakes to gingerbread cookies made into gingerbread houses and gingerbread men, there are a number of Christmas cookies to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Not only are Christmas cookies fun to eat, but they”re also fun to bake. Baking Christmas cookies and decorating gingerbread houses is a great way for friends and family to spend time together during the holiday season. Many wonderful Christmas memories can be made in the kitchen while baking Christmas treats.

Gingerbread Houses: Christmas Decorations You Can Eat!

For many, gingerbread houses evoke strong Christmas memories. While it”s nice to look at gingerbread houses, it”s even more fun to make them. Gingerbread houses are built out of gingerbread cookies that have been shaped into parts of a house (sides, roof, floor, etc.). With a little icing and some candy, you can make your gingerbread house as simple or as elaborate as you desire.

When making a gingerbread house, you might find it beneficial to plan your house before you build it. You can download templates of gingerbread houses from the Internet, or get one from a book or magazine devoted to Christmas baking. Once you have the “blueprint” for your house, assemble all your building supplies, including icing, candy, pretzels and more.

Here”s a simple recipe that you can use to make the cookie portion of your gingerbread house. You can purchase a variety of gingerbread house cookie cutters at your local cooking store or crafts store, or you can use a pattern to cut your own house parts from the cookie dough.

Gingerbread House Recipe

(adapted from Building Gingerbread Houses from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 ?F.
  2. Melt butter in a large pan.
  3. Add the sugar and molasses, stirring to mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients (baking soda, allspice, ginger, salt and flour).
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring to mix well.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface (either a clean counter or a clean cutting board).
  7. Roll the dough until it is 1/4-inch thick.
  8. Cut the dough into the pieces required to make your gingerbread house.
  9. Place the pieces on a non-stick cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes.
  11. Let the pieces cool for a few minutes and then transfer them to a cookie rack and allow them to cool completely.

Once your cookie pieces are completely cool, you”ll need to create an icing. The icing will act as a cement to hold the pieces together and hold the decorations in place on the sides of your gingerbread house. Because the icing dries soon after it is made, wait until the gingerbread is completely cool before making it. Cover the icing bowl with a damp cloth to slow the drying process.

Gingerbread House Icing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners” sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 2 egg whites

Directions

  1. Mix the cream of tartar with the confectioners sugar until well-blended.
  2. Add the almond extract (if desired) and the egg whites.
  3. Beat the mixture using a hand-held blender set on high. Beat until the frosting forms stiff peaks. If necessary, add more confectioners” sugar.

Once you have the icing prepared, you”re ready to decorate your gingerbread house. Use a variety of candy, sprinkles and more to make your gingerbread house extra special!

Christmas Cookies Recipes

While Christmas cookies can serve as decorations, often they are simply enjoyed as snacks and desserts. Here”s an easy recipe for snickerdoodles, a popular Christmas cookie.

Cinnamon-Orange Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange rind
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 ?F.
  2. Beat the shortening, brown sugar, white sugar, orange extract and orange rind until fluffy.
  3. Add the two eggs and mix to incorporate.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda).
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix well.
  6. Grease a cookie sheet and drop rounded teaspoons of cookie dough onto the sheet.
  7. Bake for eight to 10 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes. Remove from the cookie sheet and place on a cookie rack until completely cooled.