When it comes to Christmas cookies, I have a simple but sweet philosophy: Butter Makes it Better. And this fun and festive recipe provides delicious proof of this fact: an extremely simple, lightly sweet cookie that gets its perfect texture and flavor from plenty of butter. Though simple to make, when tinted in Christmasy blocks of color, they make an impressive cookie to present and serve, and the taste ensures that they’re a crowd-pleasing, easy eating favorite.
Christmas Kaleidoscope Cookies
Makes about 60 (1 1/2-inch) cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (almond or peppermint extract are also ok)
2 cups all-purpose flour
Various colors of food coloring paste or gel
1 cup or so sprinkles or colored decorating sugar
In an electric stand mixer, beat butter with a paddle attachment until it is creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and beat for several minutes, until all ingredients are well incorporated and no lumps of powdered sugar remain. Beat in vanilla extract, then add flour and beat until a soft dough forms.
Divide dough into 3 parts. Incorporate food coloring or gel of your choosing into each color–be sure to make colors quite vibrant, as they will slightly fade in the oven (not much, but a little), and knead until color is evenly distributed. I left 1 part white, tinted one part red, and tinted the third section green.
Divide each colored dough into 3 sections (so that you have 9 small portions all together). Start with 1 piece white, 1 piece green, and 1 piece red.
Roll each individual color into a log about 1 foot long. Press the 3 logs (1 of each color) together, and roll gently a few times to ensure that they have adhered and formed a circular shape. Roll entire log in a thin layer of sprinkles or decorating sugar, if desired. Wrap in waxed paper; cover with a layer of plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
Repeat with the 2 remaining portions of each color, so that you have 2 more logs of dough. Store them all in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
Remove dough from chilling. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
If dough is very firm, let it warm up just until you can handle it, but not until it is soft. You may want to work with 1 log of dough at a time, leaving others in the refrigerator until you are ready to work with them.
Unwrap a log of dough, and with a sharp knife, slice it into coins about 1/3-inch thick. Place on your prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 1 inch to allow for the minimal spreading (the cookies will not spread much as they bake).
Bake 2 sheets at a time for about 7-9 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, until cookies have firmed up but are not browned. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
baking, Christmas, cookie, holiday
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