Surprise your friends and family this holiday with recipes and crafts from Christmas Sweets: 65 Festive Recipes—Table Decorations—Sweet Gift Ideas by Georgeanne Brennan, with inspirations like Frosted Ornament Cookies, a Cookie Tree Centerpiece, and Fruit Vinegar Gifts.
Makes about 36 cookies
It wouldn't be the holidays without frosted cookies. Ornaments of all shapes are especially fun to make, either as edible treats for the tree or simply for the cookie plate.
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of waxed paper. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then add the flour mixture in thirds, stirring each time until the dough is smooth.
On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut into the desired cookie shapes and transfer them to an ungreased baking sheet. For cookie ornaments to hang on a tree, make a 1/4-inch-diameter hole in each cookie with the blunt end of a wooden skewer. Gather up the scraps of dough and roll them out to use all the dough. Bake just until lightly browned on the bottom and pale golden on top, 6 to 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks.
To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and milk and stir until a stiff but spreadable paste forms. (It may seem overly stiff, but too much milk will make an unworkable frosting. If it is necessary to add more milk, do so only 1/2 teaspoon at a time.) Divide the frosting among separate bowls and mix in food coloring as desired. Frost the cookies while they are warm or cool. If the cookies are warm, the frosting will spread more easily. Add decorative silver dragees and colored sugars (if desired) before the frosting dries.
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