Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Advent Activities 2015: December 8th, Christmas Cookies

I'm going to be up front here. It's 4:00pm, and I'm sitting here while my kids watch Sesame Street, waiting for my feet to stop feeling like someone drove railroad spars up my heels. If every day was like this, I'd have quit Advent activities long ago!

But anyhow. In preparation for having some friends over to decorate cookies tomorrow, we made two batches of cookies to decorate. I'll include the recipes below (I made half-recipes of each kind.) Scout Kid and I made the dough while Feral Kid napped BECAUSE I'M NOT INSANE, and then when he woke we rolled them out and used our gingerbread people, heart, star, and Christmas tree cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Feral Kid attempted to bite the head off all the gingerbread people as he was transporting them to the cookie sheet, but otherwise a good, if somewhat chaotic, time.

The first type we made are a crunchy cinnamon cookie fondly known as Moose Cookies in our family. (Long story, don't question it.)

Moose Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cinnamon

1. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well until incorporated.
2. Stir in flour and cinnamon. Dough will be on the crumbly side.
3. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough to 1/4 in. on lightly floured surface. Cut shapes with cookie cutters and place on parchment-paper-covered baking sheet.
5. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring carefully to cooling rack (cookies are brittle.)

The second type is Eggnog Sugar Cookies. The original recipe called for rum extract, but I used almond extract because, well, that's what I had.

Eggnog Sugar Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs

1 tablespoon almond extract

1. Combine all dry ingredients except sugar in a medium bowl.
2. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Beat in eggs and almond extract.
3. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
4. Gather dough into a ball, divide in half, and form into two flattened discs. Wrap separately with plastic wrap and chill until firm, 1-1.5 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/8" thick. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and arrange 2" apart on baking sheets.
6. Bake until cookies just start to brown around the edges, 7-8 minutes. Set sheet on cooling rack for 5 minutes, then remove cookies to rack to cool completely.

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