Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TWD: Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies


I could not have been more excited when I saw that Ulrike of Küchenlatein chose sugar cookies for this week's Tuesday with Dorie project! Making Christmas cutout sugar cookies is one of my favorite December traditions, so these could not have come at a better time. And they capped off a fabulous Christmasy weekend, filled with some of our other beloved annual holiday events:

The Town Christmas Parade

We started out early at our town Christmas parade, which my son was marching in with his Cub Scout den. We had to get there at 7:30 a.m., an hour before the parade began, so that our 6 and 7 year old boys would have ample time to run around like wild hellions and whack each other with their candy bags line up for the parade. While David (whom I accidentally volunteered to be the den leader when I cracked under the pressure of nobody else volunteering) wrangled the boys, I tried to score a prime parade viewing spot while chasing my other two in opposite directions and juggling the stroller, the heavy diaper bag filled with blankets, and my venti peppermint mocha. Finally, the parade began. Am I the only one who gets a little choked up at town parades? They are just so darn wholesome. Like most small town parades, ours had the usual assortment of scouts, high school dancers, city council members, marching bands, fire trucks, and scooter-riding Grinches:


And if you weren't careful, you'd get pelted by a Jolly Rancher. It could be any Main Street parade anywhere. Well, okay, we probably have more parading beauty queens here in the South than in other parts of the country. Not that we have more beautiful people, of course. We just like to honor ours more formally, preferably with a tiara.

Trimming the Christmas Tree

Once I let go of my Norman Rockwell visions about how this was going to go for us, everything fell into place. Last year, instead of singing Christmas carols together as we hiked deep into the woods in search of the perfect tree, we grabbed the first tree we saw on the lot next to the BP station while our colicky three month old screamed her fool head off, and then we drove through Little Caesar's for a $5 pizza on the way home. I don't remember that Norman drawing. This year, we refereed numerous squabbles about who got to hang which ornament, chased down our three year old when she decided to streak across the front yard for no apparent reason, and at the end of the day, instead of sipping hot cocoa in front of the fireplace and admiring the tree, raced around with dish towels to clean up the mess made when my kids managed to pull off the never-seen-before milk-spilling hat trick (even our one year old found a way to spill milk out of her spill-proof sippy cup). But that's okay -- we were together, we love each other, and the house got (sort of) decorated. Not Norman, but still good.

The Office Christmas Party

Who doesn't love these? We went to my husband's office Christmas party on Saturday night. Just in case you haven't had the pleasure of attending one before, let me just say: there ain't no party like a law firm Christmas party. All of those lawyers in their campy holiday-themed ties, letting their hair down and reveling in the merriment of the season . . . wooooo! Good times. In all seriousness, my hubs works with some great people, so we got to enjoy a mediocre dinner with our friends while debating the Important Issues of the Day, like whether Elisha Cuthbert is a B-list or C-list actress (I voted B-list based on her work in Old School and was accused of being a grade inflator).

The Making of the Sugar Cookies

But no December tradition is more loved in my house than making Christmas cookies, so these sugar cookies were the highlight of our weekend, hands down. We started making dough first thing in the morning, since I knew that it would need some chill time. In college, we used to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas over and over again this time of year, and our favorite line was by that greedmeister Sally, before she learned the True Meaning of Christmas

(say it with me, Lis): "All I want is what's coming to me. All I want is my fair share." Well, as parents, we feel like one of our most important jobs is to help our kids become less Sally-like and more Linus-like, but we still have a loooooong way to go. So my kids are very concerned about making sure that they get their fair share in the baking department, and if one dumps a cup of flour in the bowl, the other wants to dump a cup of flour in the bowl. If one works the KitchenAid controls:


The other gets to cut the dough in half:


All even-steven. I'm not sure how this is going to go once #3 gets in on the baking action.

This dough was insanely good. I had no idea that sugar cookie dough could be so amazing. However, that's the last dough commentary that you'll be hearing from me, because I realized this weekend that I've GAINED TEN POUNDS since joining TWD in August, so I either need to quit TWD, or at a bare minimum, quit eating dough. I'm going to try to stop eating dough first.

I wish I could quit you:




The dough rolled out fairly well, although not quite as easily as the linzer sable dough. It definitely needs to be well-chilled for these to cut out easily, so I kept returning the dough to the fridge to chill it back up. So if you do these as cutouts, they won't be the quickest cookies you'll ever make, but they are easy enough. And so, so worth it.

My son, using his superhuman strength to cut out a snowman:



I let the kids decorate these by dumping massive amounts of sprinkles on them. After they did a dozen or so cutout cookies, I rolled the remaining dough into a log and did some of the slice and bake kind. I made an extra batch of dough for my freezer, and when I make these again right before Christmas, I might try to do a few cut out cookies with icing. I probably won't waste too much time with the decorating, though, because these don't last long. They pretty much got eaten as fast as I could pull them out of the oven.



These are right up there with the best sugar cookies that I've ever had. It couldn't be a simpler recipe, but as usual, Dorie knocks it out of the park with just the right proportion of ingredients. This is now my new sugar cookie recipe. Thanks, Ulrike, for the picking a cookie that is sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit!

51 comments:

n.o.e said...

Loved reading your busy Christmas-y weekend, and am very glad that the sugar cookies ranked right up there with the Grinch and the milk spilling feats (we once had a double knock-down in a restaurant, right after my husband said quite seriously, "OK, girls, no knockdowns.") Your cookies look so thick and wonderful. I can't wait to pull ours out of the freezer. How smart to make double the dough.
Nancy

CB said...

LOL @ Grinch parade. Did he scare the kids? He kinda scared me. haha. Love all the pictures of your kids helping make the cookies esp the "super human" strength one. ;) Glad you and the family enjoyed the recipe!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

It's the most won-der-ful time of the year, especially if you can keep the kids from killing each other for a few minutes with the threat of coal in the stocking. Glad the cookies worked out for everyone involved!

Jessica said...

I love peppermint mochas a lot, extra whipped cream and crushed mints on mine, please. I also love A Charlie Brown Christmas, I watch it every year, and I still get goosebumps at the end. Can you believe that my boyfriend has NEVER seen it? I don't think that there's anything quite like the smell of Christmas cookies in the oven to make it feel like Christmas though.

Cristine said...

I love the pics of the kids helping! They make the best sous chefs!

SiHaN said...

Glad you love the cookies! and the kids look like they are having so much fun!

Alwayzbakin said...

Your post is so funny! I love your kids' aprons. So cute. Your cookies look fantastic!

Jin Hooi said...

glad to know kids had fun helping you ;-) Love to read ur blog, good fun ;-))

Audrey said...

Oh, no. no no no no no no. (Do I sound like your littlest one?) Don't quit. Don't even stop eating dough if it makes you happy. We would miss you. I love sugar cookies...I'm glad you liked these, and I'm sure they taste even better because the kids helped. Merry, merry Christmas!

Cristine said...

Cathy,

There's a link in my TWD post about my sugar cookies. :)

Thanks for your comment!

Katrina said...

Cute cookie helpers! Glad you liked the cookies so much. They are fun and festive!

Di said...

Great pictures! We watched Charlie Brown last night. I'm not up for decorating with the kiddos yet, though. I'm going to bake mine today while it's quiet around here (day off without kids). I got my fill of "helping" with putting ornaments on the tree last night. =)

Lady Baker said...

Wow, what a festive week for you all!! (And you're so on with the Sally line...Sally rules. Sally and Linus are what that special is all about!)

You know what they say...there's nothing like the classic sugar cookie to make it feel like the holidays! (Or is it "there's nothing like drunken office workers in Christmas ties?" I always forget...)

Laura said...

Sounds like such a fun weekend! I live in a pretty small town too, but I guess the powers that be decided it's already too cold to have a parade - kinda sad because it just doesn't seem like Christmas till you've seen the Grinch on a scooter.

Your helpers look like they had as much fun as mine did. This time of year is just the best when you've got a houseful of kids to enjoy it with - I wouldn't trade that joy for anything!

Prudy said...

Cathy:
Do you know you should have a newspaper column? I'm thinking something like Erma Bombeck, a sarcastic but still upbeat look at coming to terms with less-than-perfection and yet realizing that it's still good. I love it. And welcome to the required ten pound weight gain. We're all in this together. How cute is Elizabeth in her little apron???

Mary Ann said...

Finally a rave review from someone who did cut-outs! What a fabulous Christmasy week. We are going to an office party tonight, but no lawyers, so I guess it won't be that fun lol
The parade looks exciting and I completely understand the part about getting pelted with candy. that is what makes it so much fun!
Looks like your kids had a blast helping you out. Good job!~

Maria said...

I love that you are really into the holiday spirit!! The cookies look great...and your little hhelpers are adorable! And the weight gain is for a good cause right? :)

Jules Someone said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend! The kids did a great job on the cookies.

Anne said...

Great post as usual Cathy! I know what you mean about too much dough eating (but this week's was ridiculously delicious!) I love your kids aprons, too.

Amanda said...

The kids did a fabulous job, they look so cute!! I loved this recipe and will definitely be making it again :)

kim said...

what a perfect recipe for the kids :) they did such a great job! sounds like a good weekend overall. i am so jealous of people with christmas trees... my apartment is just way too small!

Amanda said...

Great post, as always. Couple of comments: 1. I didn't know you have a DOUBLE OVEN!!!! I'm so jealous. 2. I LOVE your childrens' monogrammed aprons. Does Caroline have one, too? 3. I love TWD.

Pam said...

What a fun and festive week you've had. The Christmas cookies look really tasty.

Flourchild said...

Great pictures. Im glad you enjoyed the sugar cookies. It sounds like this month is keeping you busy! Your kids look so cute helping you bake.

Cathy said...

Amanda -- oh yes, Caroline has a matching apron. Santa brought them last year (I don't think the kids noticed them, but I was thrilled!) Now that she can finally walk I might make her wear it next week -- is that wrong?

Candy said...

Looks like a fabulously festive weekend! Great cookies and I agree the dough was wonderful.

Jess said...

Great looking cookies, great Christmas memories. We have also been watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special on DVD loop. My favorite line is when Lucy tells Charlie Brown, "No one ever gets me what I really want...real estate."

Gabe's Girl said...

How cute!!! Yeah, this is a fun recipe and a great way to get in the spirit and enjoy family time. I really loved your post!

Natashya said...

How cute that you have little helpers in the kitchen, you have a lot of patience.
Mine know to stay away from me when I am cooking - but then again, they are teens and I have a tiny kitchen....

Kayte said...

I'm with you, this is NOW my sugar cookie recipe, hands down. Loved your post...loved the photos of the littles helping in the kitchen...it's always a great time visiting here each week...you can't quit us...we are all depending on you to add sparkle and zest to our Tuesdays! Enough said. Put the dough down...right now!

Pamela said...

I love the parades we have here in our small town. We don't have a Christmas parade though. That Grinch is a little scary looking!
As usual, your posts always make me smile and I really enjoy reading them!!
Love the pic of your little boy cutting out the cookie! Mine are the same way.
By the way...TWD has really been a factor in my weight battle, too. I dread going to WW tonight to step on the scale...YIKES!

Melissa said...

I love making sugar cookies at Christmas too. Your kids are just too cute in their matching aprons! Love the colored sprinkles! Hope you're all having fun eating the cookies!

vibi said...

That is just not fair! You had elves to help you bake those cute cookies! LOL LOL
Hummm... could I be bold enough to ask how much they rent for??? LOL
Too cute!

Megan said...

Gotta love it. I don't think I've ever had a Norman Rockwell type holiday in my life. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. But your parade was more fun - our town was setting a world record for Santas running through Las Vegas

chocolatechic said...

So cute.

I love to see kiddos working in the kitchen.

Cathy said...

Vibi, depending on the day, you can borrow them for free!

bakingwiththeboys said...

I keep striving for Norman Rockwell but somehow end up more in Homer Simpson territory. When Colin was two he pulled the entire tree down. He was fine but nothing quite says holiday spirit like a million shards of dead ornaments all over the floor. Good times.

Dough is evil. Sometimes when I need to bake something but I know I have been a little too generous with the dough, I make eggless chocolate cake. It has vinegar in the batter. Not so high on the lickability scale but the finished product is great.

What's for Supper? said...

I love those aprons. Too cute!

leanne said...

I too keep wishing for the Norman Rockwell Christmas but it never works. Your kids aprons are just too cute. I was kinda bad by cooking these after my kids went to bed. I was just to exhausted to ask for their assistance. However, I saved a whole a batch plus most of this one to bake later when I have the energy it requires to deal with sprinkles in my bathroom. Dough, sprinkles, flour never remains just in the kitchen when they are baking.

I have been chewing about half a pack of gum while baking because the strong mint flavor is not very good with dough. The trick is to keep popping new peices in before all the flavor is gone. It can't lose it's intensity or I am eating dough again.

The Blonde Duck said...

These cookies look just divine! Yum yum yum! I love the grinch pics. Speaking of holiday parties, I think I'll make these for mine next week!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Prudy's right, I've thought the same thing. You are like Erma Bombeck Cathy! I never tire of reading your Norman Rockwell life! Your kids are adorable, and taking after their mom for sure! Lets not talk about the 10 lbs either, I know what you mean! Since I started this blog, its been bad!! I want to be like Giada, use a tiny little plate and eat just a little bite! Yeah right!

AmyRuth said...

Christmas Tree Tradition = mail order, UPS Man Delivers. YEA!!
Just call me non-traditional oops Okay great story as always and so cute that you let your kids get into the Christmas Traditions of decorating the cookies and spilling the milk.
AmyRuth

Engineer Baker said...

There are just so many levels of awesome in this, I don't know where to start. I guess I'll just list them - Norman Rockwell, kids hitting each other with candy bags, Charlie Brown Christmas, sippy cups, office parties, and adorable kids. See? I told you.

Debbie said...

Your cookies look great. I just joined twd and your confession about your little weight gain is a wake up call. I'm gonna' keep baking too... just gonna ' amp up the exercise. ;-) Hoping that works!

Your blog is great!

Marie said...

I adored all the pictures of your parade and your cookies and your lovely little helpers!!! Christmas cookie baking should be a family activity! Well done you guys!!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

Pretty cookies and cute kids! I enjoyed reading about the Christmas events too.

Matt said...

What a great post! I used to hate parades. The loud blasts of the fire truck horns, the scary clowns whipping candy at me (I was the kid who got pelted with Jolly Ranchers)...

You should listen to the new Amy Grant song, "I Need a Silent Night". It's perfect for any parent. That and "Baby, it's Christmas"...

By the way, after trimming the tree we always turn down the lights, make hot chocolate with marshmallows and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. "All I want is what I've got coming to me. All I want is my fair share" is just one of the many lines that I love from that show!

Teanna said...

I adore, adore, ADORE your posts!!! First of all... love that you forewent the woods and went right into the lot to pick up a (what I am sure was) an overpriced tree (seriously, do you remember when trees were $20 a few years back? I don't know about you, but in NY they are now $60!!!) Secondly, Elisha Cuthbert is totally C list. And finally... can I have a cookie? They look really good :)

Julie said...

I believe you may indeed be more Norman than you think. =)

Heather said...

cute kiddos :) your husband's holiday party sounds a lot better than mine!!

Jessica said...

Sorry, I just had to tell you that I just put on one of my favorite skirts and it's TIGHT! I guess no more cookie dough tasting for me either!

 
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