When I was a kid, the holidays seemed so miraculous. The ornaments seemed to sparkle more, the lights seemed just a bit brighter and the music of the season seemed more cheerful. As an adult it can be hard to hold on to that magic.
But as soon as I get a single whiff of my grandma's sugar cookies baking in the oven, I immediately feel like a little girl again.
Grandma makes the absolute best sugar cookies and typically we are fortunate enough to make them together and when we do, that's when it really starts to feel like Christmas. This year, I'm hoping to make a batch of cookies with my nephew on Christmas Eve in preparation for the arrival of Santa Claus.
Whatever your holiday traditions may be and however you and yours spend your time together this holiday season, I hope it is filled with love and laughter. I hope that you do not allow the pressure of gift buying and cooking and cleaning weigh you down too severely. Afterall, Christmas is about so much more than any of that.
To anyone out there who tunes in every week, I appreciate you and I hope your year's end is magical and special, and that you have an even brighter year ahead of you. My gift to all of you this holiday season...
Grandma Vik's Sugar Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup butter, softened (not melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon almond extract
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar together. Next, cut the butter into the flour mixture and set it aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until they are frothy and then add the vanilla. Pour that mixture over the flour mixture, and combine all of the ingredients.
Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and let it set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
In preparation for baking the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle a flat working surface with flour. In small handfuls, roll out the dough with a rolling-pin coated with flour until the dough is about ¼ inch thick, you may roll the dough thinner if you prefer a crunchier cookie.
Use various shaped cookie cutters of your choosing to create your cookies. Carefully move the cookie cutouts to an ungreased baking sheet with a spatula.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until they become a light golden brown.
The measurements listed above for the frosting are a guestimation, depending on how many cookies you make and whether or not you choose to frost them. In a small mixing bowl, add the cream to the powdered sugar until you achieve your desired thickness; be cautious about adding too much cream or the frosting won't harden. Add as much almond extract as is desired for flavor.
Have fun decorating your cookies. Mix the frosting with different shades of food coloring, give your snowman shaped cookie some eyes using sprinkles or decorate circle shapes to look like ornaments. Be creative with it and enjoy.