My mom, sister, niece, and I started the holiday baking a little earlier this year because I wanted to try making cookies! We used two recipes which were pretty easy, a bunch of cookie cutters, and then had fun decorating them afterward. I highly recommend planning a cookie baking or decorating day with your girlfriends this holiday season! It was so fun and a welcomed change of pace and activity!
The first recipe we made was a lemon raspberry preserve cookie. We used this recipe for the dough. We found that it took more like 15 minutes to let the dough soften (it was like a rock at first) so I’d recommend either refrigerating for less time or letting it thaw more. I used these cookie cutters which made making the silhouette really easy. The cookie cutters are on the larger side for a cookie and it takes 2 layers to create so I would recommend doubling the recipe to get about 24 cookies. We dusted the top halves (with cut outs) with powdered sugar to give them that festive, snow-like texture.
Tip: After the bottoms are baked, flip over the cookie without the cut out and layer the preserve of your choice on the bottom of that cookie. You only need about a teaspoon of preserve right in the middle, otherwise it will seep out the sides. Then, put the cookie with the cut out over it. The bottoms of the cookies should be touching so they lay nicely together.
Overall, these were the easiest to decorate and make look really professional – it took me about 10 minutes to do all 12. I really loved the flavor too because it felt elevated but still very light.
Here is everything I used for baking! Most of it is from Target so it’s really affordable and a great way to make a holiday baking session with friends and family feel a little more like it’s the holiday season. You’ll also see these MacKenzie-Childs measuring cups and measuring spoons which I first got when I shared this family recipe for homemade bread and cinnamon rolls.
The second recipe we made is a family recipe we’ve been using since I was a child. We made these cookies every year in bite size circular shapes and decorated them with various colors of frosting. The cookies themselves weren’t actually festive looking but it was a holiday tradition nonetheless. This year, I wanted to try to make them a little more relevant to the holiday season so we used these snowflake cookie cutters and some that my mom already had. This set of 8 from William’s Sonoma has just about everything you might need if you don’t have any yet!
Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup shortening (or veg alternative)
- 1 TBSP milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg (or substitute for flax egg)
- 1 1/2 cup flour
Mix all the ingredients above to make the dough. We tripled the recipe and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to chill. We would pull out just enough dough to make one baking pan of cookies so the remaining dough stayed chilled. This made it easier to cut distinct shapes. Bake at 400 degrees on parchment paper for 6-8 minutes until light brown.
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 TSP melted butter (or vegan substitute)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Add milk to spread texture (just a tiny bit!)
This recipe was SO easy and warning, it’s delicious! The frosting is a little softer than other frosting recipes so if you’re doing more detailed decorating, you may want to skip milk altogether or refrigerate the frosting or let it sit longer before applying to the cookies. After the cookies had cooled, we played around with different frosting tips. We found that this frosting set from Amazon worked the best. These spatulas were also really cute for $2 and made the experience just a little more festive. I can’t get over the gingerbread man spatula with the crumb!
Do you have any favorite holiday recipes? I’d love to hear about them below!