This is the only time of year that I give myself permission to guiltlessly stuff my face with cookies. I have been working on eating less sugar overall but a day or two before Christmas I let myself indulge. Actually, it’s normally a week or two before Christmas…limiting my splurge to just a few days this year. Cookies are my downfall, my weakness, my Achilles heel, and since I can’t resist them, well, “know thy weaknesses”. I can fairly easily bypass cakes, cupcakes, store-bought cookies, and candy (except dark chocolate), but with cookies, there’s no “just say no” and walking away for me. So around this time of year, I embrace my love of cookies, especially sugar cookies, and spend an extra 30 minutes at the gym.
I have to admit that I prefer homemade cookies and the ones I make myself above all others, a bit of a cookie snob, I’ll admit…. But if I’m going to eat cookies and Christmas goodies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and anytime in between, I want to make it worth the sugar high. Most of the cookies I love are ones my mom made growing up, so naturally there is some nostalgia associated with baking cookies.
Since this is the season of giving, I decided to share a few of my favorite cookie recipes. Admittedly, these are not healthy recipes and should be eaten with complete joy and no feelings of guilt or thoughts of calories, fat, carbs, or winter weight gain.
Sugar cookies are near the top of the list when it comes to my favorite cookies. This sugar cookie recipe is an old family recipe from a great aunt, which, thinking about it, means the recipe has been around for a very long time, quite possibly close to 100 years. Please forgive the Crisco in the recipe; it’s only a 1/4 cup. And I think this recipe is likely the only reason I even buy the stuff. You probably could use all butter and omit the Crisco if you’re truly against it, but honestly, I eat these once a year so just use Crisco. The recipe is fairly easy but note that chilling is recommended. I think the secret to the recipe is that it has both vanilla and lemon for flavoring. The lemon extract adds a subtle hint of tart citrus that helps to balance out the sweet.
The best part of making sugar cookies is decorating them! It’s my favorite part. I usually try to enlist Kris’s help but apparently cookie decorating is not his area of expertise, exhibited by the picture below that I stole off his Instagram account from a few years ago. For the frosting, I make my own to counter/justify the Crisco, and I don’t follow a recipe for the frosting, just mix powdered sugar, melted butter, some milk/cream/half & half, and vanilla until I get a consistency and flavor I like….then food coloring if I want. And then it’s time for sprinkles!!! Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup Crisco
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Cream butter, Crisco, and sugar with an electric mixer.
Add eggs, one at a time.
Add vanilla, lemon, baking powder, and salt.
Slowly add flour.
For best results, chill dough for at least an hour.
Once chilled, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Generally flour counter work surface.
Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut with desired cookie cutters.
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 6-8 minutes.
Let cool completely before decorating.