I know that Christmas is over but you still have New Year’s coming and many parties probably await you this weekend. My mom would often make a batch or two during this week. Why not? She ran out of time before Christmas Day, so what’s the big deal, make them in the week in between! Just don’t tell anyone.
I did make these on Christmas Eve, along with another requested batch of Hello Dolly squares (they always go quick) and the 4 loaves of traditional Polish Bread that is my Grandmother’s recipe. Sorry I’m a little late in getting this to you.
Before this recipe, I was never a fan of cut-out sugar cookies. Any recipe I encountered came out too thick or too sweet or both.
Many of you know I went to Parsons School of Design, majoring in Communication Design. For many years, including my 4 years, the Chairman of the department was this wonderful, little (he was short) man named John Russo. He made sure he knew every student in his department. He loved to draw and produced these crazy drawings (I’ll have to show you later) and often converted each student into some type of bird. He made me a peacock. I could never quite figure out if that was good or bad. I have still kept in touch with him until just a few years ago. I should check in with him again. Now he lives in PA and is in his late eighties or early nineties.
So at Christmastime, he would have his wife make these cookies and instead of using cutters, he would spend time hand cutting each one of us as birds and then he made a huge display of them right by the elevators on the department floor. He would put a hole in the top of each one and hang them with a ribbon on push pins. Besides the amazing fact that he would take the time to do this, they were also delicious!!
Light and crisp – I guarantee you – this is the BEST sugar cookie you will ever eat!
ROLLED CHRISTMAS COOKIES
makes 3 1/2 dozen
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Cream butter thoroughly. Add sugar gradually and then add vanilla and egg. Beat until light. Sift together all dry ingredients and blend into batter. Remove batter from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for several hours. On a lightly floured pastry cloth, roll out 1/8” thin, cut, place on a greased or Siltpat lined cookie sheet. Decorate with colored sugars and bake at 325 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes. Or bake them plain and decorate them afterwards with colored icings. That is what Russo would do.
Store in a wax paper lined tin at room temperature.