Is the most wonderful time of the year! Without a doubt Christmas is the best holiday! Is the time we’ve all been waiting for all year long. Even though sometimes it can be a little nostalgic, it’s full of hope and magic. Therefore, I think that the best way to start this holiday is by making a good batch of Christmas cookies.
I’ve been making these cookies for the last three years and I love them! What I like about this recipe is that you have two types of cookies in one. Yes, you read me right! Simple, if you like cookies buttery and crispy avoid the cream cheese and lemon zest, if you like a softer and chewy cookie with a balanced flavor then add the cream cheese. For sure you will love both versions, like I do. This recipe yields 2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on the cuter size. What I do is that I make the dough in advance, usually the first week of Christmas, then I divide the dough in three small portion. I bake one portion and I freeze the rest for Christmas Eve or to make a goodies gift. You can decorate these cookies however you want. Also, you can make cookie sandwiches with fruit jam or Nutella, or make them more festive with some royal icing, which is always fun for the kids!
Well, I think I have covered the basic, so let’s enjoy this pinch of sugar and Merry Christmas !!!
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for 1 hour
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the royal icing that I usually make, visit: Royal Icing Recipe & Video
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese with the sugar. Beat for several minutes, or until light and fluffy. Then add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and lemon zest.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, then gradually add it with a spoon to the butter and sugar mixture until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed.
- Divide the dough into 3 balls. At this point the dough can, and should be, chilled or frozen.
- Refrigerate the dough that you will baking for at least 1 hour. Then freeze the rest of the dough balls, wrapped in plastic wrap and into a freezer bag, for up to 2 months. To thaw, leave in the refrigerator overnight then proceed with the recipe.
- Once the cookie dough is chilled, roll it out onto a floured surface or between two parchment papers. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8). Note: When you take the chilled dough out of the fridge you may need to let it sit for a few minutes before is soft enough to roll out.
- To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or a Silpat. Cut cookies out of the rolled dough and place on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake cookies for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a wire rack.
- Cool completely before icing or decorating, and store in a tightly covered container. For Royal Icing Decorating Tips refer to the video mention in the ingredients list.