The Sweet Life

It’s no doubt that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year; it’s full of shopping and sweets, Hallmark movies, and twinkle lights. However, as the nights get shorter and the Christmas lists from your family gets longer it can be hard to focus on what you want to spend your time doing this season. For me, getting in quality girl-time is a must! These girls are my personal therapists and comedians- girls who will go all-out any night of the week to bake some festive treats.

I always hear girls in their 20s talk about how hard it is to make plans with their friends, and while I agree that it can be challenging we prioritize things that are important to us – my #1 tip for this, and what has been our saving grace of hang-outs, is scheduling time in our calendars. We currently have hangs scheduled into 2020 and it’s not because we’re expert planners. We have dinner plans and the new pop-up Christmas bar for next Saturday at 8pm but we also have a block of time reserved the following Wednesday that’s open to whatever. Sometimes it works for us to be super planful, other times we just know we want to hang out once a week so when we find time we book it.

When it comes to hosting a cookie decorating party on a weeknight, I knew I need to keep things low-key and easy, we’ve got bedtimes to adhere to after all… This means the recipes should be simple and short, contain ingredients I can get anywhere and have cookies from the mixer to icing in less than an hour. Seriously, have you ever gotten to the end of a recipe and realized that it calls for you to chill the dough overnight or let it rest several hours before baking? Who has time for that? You think that during my 2pm meeting at work today I thought ‘wow I should bake cookies tonight so I can eat them tomorrow?’, absolutely not. This recipe doesn’t require any chilling and is ready to roll as soon as it comes out of the mixer, we love a low-maintenance dough!

These sugar cookies don’t expand too much, they lend themselves to being a little thicker to ensure they stay softer (same) and hold their shapes really well! I doubled the recipe because more is more when it comes to cookies, and ended up with about 55 in total… considering there were only 4 of us I’m not totally sure that was necessary… but now we have cookies to share with our zero other friends.

Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 25 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Servings: 30 Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ sticks of butter (salted)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with non-stick spray, butter or parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the gg, egg yolk and vanilla. Beat until well combined. 
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and gently mix. Once the flour is almost absorbed, add the remainder of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Be sure not to over mix.
  • Flour your surface and rolling pin and start with about ¼ of the mixture. Roll to a ¼ inch thickness and use cookie cutters to create shapes!
  • Bake time for us was about 13 minutes, but ovens vary so I would set a timer for 10 and keep a close eye on them! They are done when they are barely golden brown on the edges.
  • Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to finish cooling. Decorate as desired.

Next comes frosting. There are tons of different kinds, but the classic sugar cookie frosting is called Royal Icing. This is the type that tends to dry a little harder, can be glossy and spread out evenly across the top of a cookie. The last two of those are probably true for other bakers… I think mine might have been a little on the thicker side, but it didn’t run all over and piped out well and frankly that’s all I was asking for.

The Easiest Royal Icing

Prep Time: 7 minutes

Servings: 3 ½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  • In a large bowl of a stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy
  • Add the confectioners sugar gradually and mix on low speed until incorporated and mixture is shiny
  • Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take about 5 minutes.
  • Add food coloring as desired (we separated ours into several bowls and made several colors)

We spent the next hour or so trying really hard to get the perfect decorated cookie… then we spent the hour after that just trying to ice the remaining 35 cookies. It was then we realized we may not have needed to double the recipe…

By the end of the night we had listened to a full Christmas Spotify playlist, had icing all over our clothes, and felt a little sick from the amount of raw dough we consumed but we also made these..


Meet the contributor:

I’m Brittany; an Instagram enthusiast, Netflix connoisseur, and amateur baker. An Enneagram type 2 and a Cancer through and through, a real people person. You can find me in HR by day, and exploring KC with the Girl Gang by night.

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