It is day number two after our historic Trick or Treat Snowstorm on October 29, and there is still no power here on Fells Road.  The only functioning appliance in my house is my trusty 30-year-old gas powered oven and I am baking up a storm (no pun intended).  I had mixed up some cookie doughs a few weeks earlier and kept them in the freezer.  Since there was no telling when power would be restored I decided to bake the cookies before the doughs went bad.

I always have a variety of doughs mixed up and frozen before the holidays.  Once the doughs are mixed up and frozen, all you need to do is slice and bake them.  Nothing could be easier.

To my mind, nothing says holidays like cookies.  Serve them up in a platter as a grand finale to a festive holiday meal or present them in decorative boxes or cellophane bags to delight family and friends with a gift from the heart.

So dust off your baking books and seek out a variety of cookies.  Choose cookies of various shapes and sizes and colors to make a beautiful dessert platter or gift.

I’ve provided a recipe for the sugar cookies that appear in the photo.

Stay safe and Happy Holidays!

Ingredients for Sugar Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour*
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • colored sugar or sprinkles (for topping)

In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy, then add vanilla and sugar and beat well for about 2 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time and mix well, then add the orange juice.

On low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, and beat only until fully mixed.  Do not overbeat the dough.

Divide the dough into fourths, then shape into discs of 4 to 6 inches.  Wrap individually in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  Dough can be prepared and refrigerated several days in advance.  Dough can be frozen for up to a month—just defrost in the refrigerator the night before you are planning to bake the cookies.

When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line insulated cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one of the doughs from the refrigerator.   Dust the dough with flour on both sides and roll the dough between two long pieces of wax paper to about 1/8 inch thickness.  If the dough becomes sticky—just dust with some more flour.  It is best to work with this dough in a cool kitchen.  If your kitchen is warm, the dough will become sticky and hard to roll.  You can always place the dough in the freezer for a few minutes and then continue rolling and cutting.

Use holiday themed cookies cutters—snowflakes, stars, reindeer, etc.—to cut the dough and place on the insulated cookie sheets.  Sprinkle with colored sugars or sprinkles and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven, place on cooling racks and allow cookies to cool to room temperature.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Essex Fells Magazine

December 2011


*Cake flour has a lower protein content than all purpose flour and makes for a more tender cookie.  If you only have all purpose flour it is okay to use it in the amount of 3 and 1/4 cups.  The cookies will be less tender but still quite good.