I’m not the first to dub Christmas as baking season. But with 2 birthdays thrown in, one 20 days before and another 9 days after, December – early January really is baking season for me. I have adopted a tradition my mom started for me of baking cookies in the shape of the number of years for each birthday.
I’m not taking credit for this recipe, as I’m sure it was adapted from a cookbook long ago (maybe Mom can tell you?), but I’m sharing it here for those who have asked. A few years back I made them for a cookie exchange and my super creative husband printed it up on these cute recipe cards! (I’ll type it out at the end too as it may be too small to read here.)
First was LM’s 2nd Birthday in the beginning of December. I actually changed up the recipe a little as I have been trying to eat more “clean” lately. I used Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour Whole Wheat instead of the white flour. I had read to use less because the whole wheat absorbs more liquid, so I only used 2 cups versus 2 1/2 cups. And then I also used Sugar in the Raw. They came out decent, I even got a great compliment from LM’s teacher who is a self-proclaimed cookie aficionado. We opted for 2’s and trains!
And I also splurged on some all natural food dyes, here they are on Amazon (click picture), but I found them a little cheaper (still not cheap though) at our local Fresh Market. For LM I tried to do orange and green, but I could not make green for the life of me, so I settled on a light bluish (looks more gray than anything.) They may not look as pretty – but they are much better for you so that makes me feel good!
But for Christmas, I went back to the tried and true recipe. I rationalized it in my head that as least they are still from scratch and I know what is in them (still better than buying from a store.) I did still stick with the natural dyes as one of the things I am really trying to cut out of our lives is food dyes. So we stuck with white and red (well maybe more of a dark pink). While I tried to do only the white and chocolate sprinkles, some colored ones made their way out. I did a double batch to share with friends and family and got the kids involved in decorating. They decorated/ate maybe 10, leaving me to do the other 90! We did candy canes, gingerbread men, gingerbread girls, trees, stockings, snowmen, and bells.
And finally, early January brought my LL’s 4th birthday. Again sticking with the normal recipe, we made 4’s, hearts, and flowers. We chose a light pink and light blue (again more gray) for her princess themed party. (Also pictured are the cupcakes too that I baked decorated with princess and car rings. They were both from a box, but the chocolate was gluten-free and I think the overall favorite!)
Thus concludes my baking season. Over 300 sugar cookies and 4 dozen cupcakes. I’m sure it won’t be too long until we do it again (Valentine’s day maybe?) But for now I need a break! My waist-line does too!
One last product plug – then the recipe! Thanks for stopping by!
These are similar to the cookie cutters I have – it’s a big bucket including all letters and numbers and even color coated by holiday! A great investment (anyone is always welcome to borrow too!)
3/4 cup of shortening (or can use 1/2 margarine 1/2 shortening)
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
Mix thoroughly the shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder, and salt. Once mixed, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (I do overnight).
Heat oven to 400 degrees (F). Roll dough on a floured surface to 1/8th inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes.
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp light cream/half & half
Mix all ingredients until smooth and add food coloring as desired.