When my kids were young, we decided it would fun to make and decorate cookies to give to neighbors and friends for Christmas. We like to eat Christmas cookies, too, (who doesn’t???) so I made a huge batch so we would be sure to have plenty. I rolled, cut and baked for hours as the kids decorated until they were exhausted – and that’s when we coined the phrase, “Christmas Cookie Sweatshop!” It is also how we answer the phone on Sweatshop day – “Christmas Cookie Sweatshop – How may I help you?”
With just a few of us decorating, the creativity slumped as the sweatshop rolled on, leaving lots of cookies with just a glob of frosting and a sprinkle of colored sugar. We needed more help in the sweatshop – what to do?
Make it a party! Now everyone comes over to our house and decorates and takes home cookies – they make them as pretty as they want – or not! I add food dye – the gel type gives the most intense colors – to canned frosting (cream cheese flavor). I usually have 6-7 different colors -plus white. Handfuls of plastic knives are tucked into each frosting bowl – no waiting! And I have copious sprinkles and sugars for adding detail or just pizazz to the cookie. A plastic table cloth is laid on the table and wax paper for the still-warm cookies to cool upon.
Some vie to see who can decorate the most bizarre cookie. Frontrunners in the past have included a snowman cookie re-purposed as Jabba the Hut and penguins changed to Santa Clauses (below- Note that one is “Santa Noir”). We serve eggnog punch and other beverages along with “savory” treats to counteract all the sweets as Christmas music plays in the background.
Here is a link to a video of some of the creations from a previous year. I think one of the Jabba the Hut cookies is in that one…
Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 2 c. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 4 eggs
- 5 c flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cream together in a large bowl the butter and sugar – add the eggs and mix well. In another bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Gradually add the dry to the creamed mixture – mixing well after each addition. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours. Roll out 1/4″ think on floured surface (have purchased a sil-pat yet? – ask Santa for one – so worth it!) and use cutters that have been dipped in flour to avoid sticking. Place evenly on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone liner (ask Santa for some of those, too!) – see photo. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minutes (watch closely!) Cool slightly before frosting. For best results, keep the dough you aren’t using in the fridge.