Sugar cookies are one of the most classic and crowd-pleasing cookies out there. They’ve always been a staple of the Christmas cookie platter at my house, and since they are easy to dress up with colored sprinkles, they are usually a hit with the kids. I definitely remember rolling sugar cookie dough in all kinds of crazy colored sprinkles and decorations (some tasted better than others, if I recall correctly!) in preparation for the holidays.
I still like sugar cookies, but I wanted my Christmas Sugar Cookies to have a little bit more of a grown up look this time around and I did that by toning down their color a notch. The cookie dough is rolled in sugar before baking, but I added a small amount of red and green sugar crystals to the plain white sugar to give the cookies just a hint of color. I really liked the look of the finished cookies, since they looked festive without looking over the top. Of course, if you do want to take them over the top, you can go ahead and skip the white sugar and just roll your cookie dough in colored sugar!
These cookies are also delicious. Even though they are simple, they have a great buttery-vanilla flavor to them and a nice chewiness. Rolling them in sugar before baking makes the outer edge of the cookie a little bit crunchy, for a nice textural contrast, too. Don’t be tempted to over-bake the cookies, or they’ll lose some of their chewiness. These cookies will keep well when stored in an airtight container for a few days, but during the holiday season they probably won’t last that long!
Christmas Sugar Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar, for rolling
1/2 tsp red sugar crystals, for rolling
1/2 tsp green sugar crystals, for rolling
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, adding them one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate the flour mixture until the dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
In a small, flat dish, combine 1/3 cup sugar with the red and green crystals. Stir until colored sugar is well distributed.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the sugar to coat completely. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2-inches between the cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, until cookies are set and very light golden around the edges.
Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.