This will be the first year that I haven’t spent Christmas with either my parents and extended family or my husband’s family. It will just be the four of us, my husband and our two girls. It’s something that Philip has wanted to do for a while, but I have been resistant. I guess it’s because I’m a bit nostalgic and I enjoy doing the things that I grew up doing around the holidays, like spending Christmas Eve at my grandma’s house even if it doesn’t seem particularly exciting to the outsiders. Now that she’s in her mid 80s I realize that the years of Christmas as I remember it are numbered even though she is in relatively good health. I even (gasp) really enjoy the years that we have spent with my husband’s family. It’s completely different and much more formal. I like the smells, the house full of people, the hugs, the kisses on both cheeks, the toasts.
This year I was still resistant, but I gave in at the thought of having to pack up a 2 year old and a 6 month old and drive anywhere in holiday traffic. And now that Grace is now almost two and a half, she’s starting to understand what’s going on, so I wanted Santa to come to our house. We’ve tried to plan a special weekend and start some of our own traditions, but I know that it will still be a quiet holiday. I’m trying not to dwell on it, but part of me is afraid that I will miss the fanfare.
Baking cookies for Santa is one of the things that we are doing this year that will hopefully become a part of our holiday activities for years to come. While I’m a traditionalist when it comes to holiday decor, Grace thought that Santa would enjoy pink and purple icing and pink sugar sprinkles.
This recipe spreads very little, so you can use ornate cookie cutters like these jumbo snowflakes, but it still tastes delicious. Just make sure to give yourself enough time to chill the dough and be sure to let the oven come to temperature.
No Spread Sugar Cookies
- Add the butter to the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter on medium speed. Add the egg and egg yolk to the bowl, and continue on medium speed. Add the sugars to the mixer and mix on medium-high speed, until creamy and fluffy. Add the extracts to the mixing bowl and continue to mix on medium-high, scraping down the bowl as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the flour in several batches, until it’s all added.
- Sift together the flour and salt and set aside.
- Divide the dough into 3-4 equal sized pieces, and roll each piece between two sheets of parchment paper, to less than 1/4-inch thick. Refrigerate the sheets of dough for at least 4 hours.
- Remove one sheet of dough from the refrigerator. Peel the top sheet of parchment paper from the dough, and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Move the cookies to a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper). Repeat with the remaining sheets of dough.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the sheets from the refrigerator and bake for 10-13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center is set.
- Remove the cookies from the oven, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.