It's that time of year again, when I don't see my countertops from December 1 - January 2. Literally, they are covered in flour, confectioner's sugar, mixers, beaters, you name it, it's on my countertop. Having a smaller kitchen doesn't help.
I am one of those Christmas cookie freaks who literally bakes almost every day of the season. I give them as gifts, along with the macarons that I have just figured out! I make about 5 -6 types of cookie, but my most favorite is the colorful Christmas cutout cookie.
I use the Williams-Sonoma sugar cookie recipe, and it is so good people ask "what is in these to give them flavor?" They are delicious. Here is the recipe which I posted last month.
For the icing, I use some meringue powder and make royal icing. It gives a great result, although it is a bit of a hard icing.
Some cut out tips:
1. Be sure your dough is chilled but not so cold you can't roll it.
2. Roll your cookies thin. A thick and doughy sugar cookie is kind of blah. I roll mine to about 1/8 inch.
3. Use saran wrap when you roll. Just put a piece of saran wrap over the dough (and under also, if you choose, but I just use a floured countertop). Your rolling pin will NOT stick, no matter what.
4. Watch that oven, don't burn the cookies. But don't underbake them either. These take about 8 - 10 minutes or so.
5. Use silpats. They are a bit of an investment, but they last forever and make your baking SO successful!
6. If you want to make a lot of cookies during the season but don't want to be in the kitchen day in and day out, make a few recipes of the dough, cut out your shapes, freeze them on the silpat-lined cookie sheet, and the store them in the freezer in an airtight container. Then bake as you need. It's a great way to save on time.
Good luck! Enjoy your cookie endeavors, I'll be posting more as the season progresses!