Christmas Sugar Cookies

Each December I wonder if I’d be happier in my kitchen or away from it.

Today, for instance, might have been a good day to kick back and watch the snow fall with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. Leisurely wrap a few gifts. No dirty dishes. Plenty of counter space. Sweet peace.

Instead, I find myself bending over the counter, scattering sprinkles, sweeping the floor twice, repeatedly telling pudgy little fingers to stay out of the icing, and wondering if I have enough measuring cups and spatulas to pull off another batch of treats without washing any dishes first.

Yes, I’m much happier in my kitchen.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without sugar cookies. Here is this year’s lineup -

Christmas trees:

Christmas Sugar Cookies - Trees

Stockings:

Christmas Sugar Cookies - Stockings

Snowflakes:

Christmas Sugar Cookies - Snowflakes

Which one is your favorite? I’d love to hear!

Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies

adapted from Bake at 350

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 egg

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts, and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom. The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together a bit with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl.

Form into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Let it sit in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut into shapes. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze the cut-out shapes on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before baking. This helps prevent the cookies from spreading too much as they bake.

(Form any remaining dough into a disc, and rewrap with plastic wrap. Let it sit in the fridge while the first batch bakes, then roll it out again when you’re ready to do a second batch.)

Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until the tops look mostly dry, but edges aren’t browned yet. Let them sit for 2-3 minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.