The smell is powerful, it is nostalgic, bringing to life wonderful childhood memories of being with family at my grandparents’ house during Christmas time. I can see my brother and I trying to negotiate just one more cookie, and of course Granny would give us the look of silent approval to snag one more from the tray. A selection of tree, star, snowmen and gingerbread men-shaped cookies made for a tough decision. We would keep the Christmas cookie tradition going through the years at our own house and now it is special to share the same tradition with our boys.

This simple sugar cookie recipe requires little fuss, saving your energy for the fun that comes along with making cookies with your family. Adults and kids alike will enjoy cutting holiday shapes and decorating with colorful sprinkles. I cannot promise you a clean kitchen in the end, but I can promise you the joy that comes from baking together will be worth the cleanup.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Use organic ingredients whenever possible. Note: Dough must be chilled overnight or for an hour before making cookies.

Preparation

Cream together room temperature butter and sugar in a stand mixer (or in a bowl with a hand mixer) until combined and light and fluffy. Next add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated into butter/sugar mixture. Scrap down sides with a spatula. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients of flour, baking powder and salt. Lightly stir and add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until slightly combined. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Scoop dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disk and cover. Place into refrigerator overnight or a minimum of one hour to chill.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set chilled dough out for a few minutes before trying to rollout. Lightly flour your baking surface (e.g. cutting board or countertop) and rolling pin (Trick: place dough between two clean pieces of plastic wrap lightly floured for easy rolling). Roll dough, occasionally turning dough over and rotating, until you get a nice large round. Cut cookies using cookie cutters of choice and place cookies onto a baking sheet. Decorate with sprinkles and bake for 6-8 minutes. Let cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy! Let's see if you can just eat one!

Images by Candice Lanning, www.thebeautifulmess.com.