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Holiday Baking Makes Memories

December 3, 2019

by Jolene Lamb, Coordinator, LLCC Culinary Institute

Jolene and her mother making Christmas cookies

As the holidays approach, I reminisce about my childhood and holiday-themed baking with my mom. One of my favorite things to bake with her was, and still is, sugar cookies. Each winter mom would pull out the assorted cookies cutters, in every shape and size gingerbread men, trees, snowmen, candy canes and more.  She would pull up a kitchen chair to the counter so I could reach, and we would go to work mixing, rolling, cutting out shapes and baking our cookies. I would say that is where my passion for baking first began. As a child, it didn’t feel like hard work in the kitchen, I remember having a good time and making memories. I even enjoyed doing the dishes at that young age, but eventually I grew out of that! When I became a mother, I couldn’t wait to continue the tradition with my son, spending a cold winter day in our kitchen making memories together, and a perhaps a few messes too! But I never minded the mess he made. The flour on the floor, the icing splattered across the counter meant we were making memories, being creative, and having fun together. 

I hope that you enjoy the holidays and take a moment to slow down, spend time with loved ones, reminisce about the good times, continue old family traditions, or even start new ones of your own.  Take time to get together in the kitchen with your kids and make new memories, laugh, let your kids be creative and savor every sweet minute.

This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe:

The dough is unbelievably easy for kids to work with, and the scraps can be rolled out several times before getting tough. The icing recipe that follows will create the flat glazed look on cookies. It is not like traditional frosting type used on cakes. 

Traditional Sugar Cookie Dough

Yield: 3 dozen 3 inch cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients a little at a time to the butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated.

Divide dough in two portions, flatten and wrap.  Chill dough for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, and roll out on lightly floured surface.

Cut, then bake on a parchment covered cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes. Decorate with the following cookie icing recipe.

Sugar Cookie Icing

Yield: 2 cups of icing

  • 3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons warm water

In a stand mixer, use a whisk attachment to mix all ingredients together on low speed for 7-10 minutes. Only stop mixer once about half way through mixing to scrape down the sides. DO NOT whip at any speed except low (stir) or icing with become stiff. 

This icing will be very thin, pourable consistency.  Use a funnel to pour into a squeeze bottle to pipe onto cookies. 

To color icing, use powdered or gel colors and stir in by hand.  A little color goes a long way.

Keep icing covered in bowl, or cover cap of squeeze bottle when not in use.  Icing will dry and crust over if not covered.

This icing is used to make the flat glazed decorated cookies.  If layering colors, let dry in between applications.

Once dry, icing will be shiny and hard to the touch.

Happy baking!

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