The best gift at Christmas time is having some little ones in addition to that significant someone to bake cookies for; the same dear ones in my life who adore and want me even on my worst bad hair days!
Challenging as it may be, the faster my freshly baked Vanilla Christmas Cookies vanish as soon as they are out the oven and onto the cooling rack, the sooner I know I’ve done them right! Quality controllers are easy to find right here in my household, which reminds me of the same sort of home I grew up in—one filled with festive cooking smells and of course, no lack of foodies raring to offer their discerning tastebuds. They’ll sniff the air and twitch their noses at the latest fresh creation, elbowing one another to be at the frontline to initiate the first tasting. I was the baby of the family and learnt the modus operandi of sniffers and twitchers early on.
It’s no surprise then that my six year-old has the same sniffing, nose twitching and arm elbowing instincts when it comes to cookie tasting at our home. “I have to try every batch, mummy,” she said today. “And why is that?” I ask with a wry smile. “So that I know if they are baked right and you’ve done a good job or not, mummy! That’s how I help you in the kitchen, mummy. And you know I’m such a good help, isn’t it.” Well, well, well. Spoken like a true legitimate offspring of mine, ha. What a little hustler. I wish I had her conviction when I was six. I may’ve scored more cookies! It’s 9 more sleeps till Christmas! Happy Holidays!
Cookie Dough Ingredients for Vanilla Christmas Cookies: (Adapted from Donna Hay’s Vanilla Snap Biscuits) As for my cookie shapes–I went for a combination of traditional Christmas icons (angel, heart, star, Christmas tree) and a woodland theme for this year.
1 C caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or 1.5 tsp vanilla extract (I used the paste)
2.5 C plain flour
1 egg + 1 extra egg yolk
Cut up the butter into smaller cubes (temperature—straight out of the fridge). Measure out the castor sugar and add the cubes of butter, sugar and vanilla paste or extract into a food processor and whizz till mixture becomes smooth. Add the flour gradually with the egg then the extra egg yolk and whizz further to form a smooth dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge to firm up the dough before using (an estimated half hour or more).
Once you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to about 180 ℃ (360F), then roll out the dough between sheets of non-stick baking paper till about 5mm thick. The fun part is this! Cut the dough using assorted cookie cutters. I let my kids help at this stage and they love it.
Carefully and delicately place the cut shapes onto a lined baking sheet with baking paper.
Bake for between 10-12 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
Cool these Vanilla Christmas Cookies on racks before handling or storing them. They are best served dusted with icing sugar or decorated with sugar icing or ready-rolled fondant.