I may have gone a bit cookie crazy. Besides my Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels, I have two more cookie recipes to share. Well, it’s more like one recipe and one technique, but I’ll get to that.
I’ve never been able to find a sugar cookie that I actually like. I’ve tried about a million and they all just taste blah to me. But I think that’s just the kind of person I am. Brandon told me the other day that I have tendency to put too much flavoring in the things I bake and that may be true, but I just want something that tastes like…something. I hate blah food. Even something that has too much flavor is better than something that doesn’t have any. But I think this is just that age old debate of people who like vanilla ice cream and people who like chocolate. Of course I choose chocolate! The only time I’ll eat vanilla ice cream is if it’s covered in fudge or caramel.
Anyway, I’m not sure I even have a point other than to say that this desire for flavor translates into everything I cook and share on this blog. I make a lot of stuff that I don’t share here because it’s boring or basic. I always try to find recipes that are fun (at least to me). Which leads me to these totally adorable Christmas Tree Cookies. They are fun and easy to make and did I mention how adorable they are? But that’s not even the best part of them. The original recipe was for plain ol’ sugar cookies, but of course I modified them! The best part is that they taste just like cinnamon graham crackers, which are my absolute favorite. And my boyfriend, Mr. You-put-too-much flavoring, actually said that these were perfect! And he hates cinnamon, so if he likes these cookies, anyone will.
I bet these cookies would be fun to make if you have kids. You divide the dough into three rolls which you cover in green sugar, then after they’ve chilled for a while, you just sliced them up and bake. I think kids would definitely have fun assembling the little trees; I did and I’m almost 30 years old! These would be really festive and pretty for a party and they keep well in an air-tight container. As with all Betty Crocker cookies I’ve made (or maybe it’s just a personal preference?) I think these taste better the day after you bake them.
The other kind of cookies I made are technically called Stained Glass cookies, but I’m not sure that’s really accurate, especially after I modified them. I have seen recipes for stained glass cookies that actually have a little transparent window of sugar in them and these are not like those at all. These are just your basic sugar cookie recipe, but you divide up the dough and color parts of it with food coloring.
You are supposed to cut out shapes with cookie cutters in the uncolored dough and then cut up the colored doughs into little squares and arrange them on top of the uncolored cut-outs so that it looks like a stained glass window. But OH MY GOD, that is tedious. Seriously, I did about 3 cookies like that and I was done. It took forever and the colored dough kept getting too soft so I had to keep freezing it every 5 minutes. I was about ready to shoot someone and that is not the attitude you should have when making Christmas cookies! It’s supposed to be fun, not mind-numbing. So I pretty much just gave up on the whole “stained glass” thing and just cut out circles and whatever else I wanted. Then I took the colored doughs and cut them with cookie cutters and added more little details. It was much more fun when I could just do what I wanted to.
Despite all that work, the cookies that came out were pretty but they were blah. Just about the blandest sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted: they weren’t even that sweet! So I won’t be posting that recipe, but the technique is still interesting and fun (as long as you do what you want and don’t try to kill yourself being “perfect”), and it should work with your favorite sugar cookie recipe.
Christmas Tree Cookies
adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook
Cookies | Servings: 4 1/2 dozen
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 5 hour 40 min
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1-2 bottles of green sugar (1 was sufficient, but I wished I had a little extra to fill in some “bald” spots)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3-6 tbsp. half and half (or however much you need to get it to spreading consistency, add a little at a time)
*Note: I cheated and bought icing at the store instead.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon and salt. Mix into butter mixture.
- Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour.
- Take one half and mold into a 14 inch long roll. Take the other half and remove 1/3 of it. Roll both pieces 14 inches long.
Pour out the green sugar on a large piece of wax paper or parchment and roll all three pieces back and forth until they are completely covered in sugar. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or until firm enough to slice.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees (F).
- Take out one of the rolls and cut it into 1/4 inch slices. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown around the edges. Immediately remove from pan and place on a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining rolls/slices.
- Once all the cookies are cooled make your icing. Stack a large, medium and small cookie together with the icing and top with candy or frosting of your choice.