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My children, like many of today’s children, are spoiled rotten. It’s a plague throughout our society in which many children are flooded with anything that their little minds can dream up without having to work very hard to get it. My husband and I fight this fight every day and it is especially hard this time of year, where my children’s birthday and the onslaught of Christmas is a mere 4 weeks apart. Recently, we have been making a conscious effort to quit buying them so much stuff (It’s hard. They are pretty stinking cute.) As we think back on our own childhoods, we barely remember the toys and presents under the tree. What we remember is the time that we spent with our family. We remember trips that we took, lessons in the kitchen, and walks in the woods.We cherish the time that our families took out of their day to sit down and really spend time just connecting. Those times for my husband and I are now long gone, we aren’t kids anymore, but we have kids of our own and we do our best to make an effort to make memories with our little ones.
For this reason, I’m giving you a our Christmas Cookie recipe. Maybe you can’t find yours, or maybe you’ve never made any before, either way, you now have no excuse to not make some Christmas cookies with any special kids in your life. Even if they aren’t so little anymore, even if you buy pre-made dough, even if you have to call up your neighbor to borrow some cookie cutters and a rolling pin, the greatest gift that you can give to your kids (or grandkids, or nieces and nephews) is your time and your attention. I guarantee that it’s a gift that they won’t forget.
- ¾ cup butter 1 ½ sticks, softened
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ - ½ cup milk
- Food coloring
Assorted sprinkles for topping
- With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gently stir in the eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and salt until well combined. Add half of the flour and stir until moistened. Add the remaining flour (the dough will be stiff). Form into a round disc, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. (You can do this a day or two ahead of time to make your life easier).
- Preheat the oven to 375. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about a ¼ - inch thick. Stamp out shapes using cookie cutters. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- To make the icing, combine the sugar and half of the milk. Whisk until you have a thick icing, adding a few drops of milk if needed. Add food coloring to make different colors. Decorate. Let dry on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container.