One of my favorite holiday traditions is frosting cookies.
Every December my brother and I frosted Christmas cookies with my grandma. My best memories are the three of us around the kitchen table frosting cookies until our fingers stained while the Josh Groban Christmas album played throughout the house.
“Maggie took the last Christmas tree!” Sam shouted a familiar statement. Next to the reindeer, those were my favorite to decorate.
“Don’t worry, I have some cooling over here on the counter,” my mom assured him, knowing I would frost them before the other cut-outs and most likely not leave any for others to decorate.
My grandma frosted cookies unlike anyone I know. She used toothpicks like a paintbrush. It was the best tool for the intricate details that consumed her cookie canvases; the frosting toothpicks drew ribbon on the presents and those dipped directly in the colored dye added sequin to the wrapping. It was the same way with the Santa Claus cut-outs, the reindeer, holly leaves, ornaments and all the other cookie shapes. The bold colors contrasted the creamy frosting and (almost) brought the cookie to life – only she made cookies so beautiful that people would rather look at them than eat them.
The four of us haven’t frosted cookies in a few years, mostly because we are all growing older. My grandma is 96 and can’t quite use a toothpick like she did before and both my brother and I have schedules that don’t always allow us to be home for the holidays. Nonetheless, we always have the memories and the tradition to pass on.
Christmas Sugar Cookies and Frosting Recipes:
Part One – Picky Eater Approved Sugar Cookies:
3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Mix all ingredients except last in a large bowl. Shape dough into a ball with waxed paper and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease cookie sheets. Roll half of the dough on lightly floured surface about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. Repeat. Flour cookie cutters and cut dough into various shapes. Re-roll dough trimming and continue to cut into shapes. Place cookies on cookie sheet and brush tops with beaten egg white and water mixture. Bake 8 minutes and remove to drying racks. Cool completely before frosting.
Part Two – Picky Eater Approved Frosting:
16oz powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoons salt
Beat all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Add more milk if necessary.
Pickin’ Your Brain:
- What is your favorite cookie with a story?