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Guest Post by Martha Thompson

Sweet Holiday Tradition: Gingerbread and Sugar Cookies

Are you looking for a fun tradition to start with your family during the holidays? Bring them together for some old-fashioned cookie baking!

These two classic cookie recipes are made mostly from on-hand ingredients and come to life with a little help from colorful icing and candy pieces. Don’t be surprised if cookie baking becomes one of the most anticipated activities around your house during the holiday season!

Gingerbread Men

Nothing says Christmas quite like fresh baked gingerbread men! Get the kids in on the act and have them help roll out, cut, and bake these soft and chewy cookies. When the smell of ginger starts to fill the kitchen, have the kids standing by ready to gussy up these little guys with basic vanilla frosting and candy pieces!

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Ingredients

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vanilla frosting of your choice (store-bought or see frosting recipe used for sugar cookies below)
Red cinnamon candies or sprinkles for decorating (optional)

  1. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-inch cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
  4. Fill resealable plastic bags with vanilla frosting and snip a small piece off one corner. Have fun decorating! Set cookies aside to let icing dry completely before storing in an airtight container.

Santa Sugar Cookies

Anytime is the right time for old-fashioned, homemade sugar cookies! Use your favorite cookie cutters and colorful icing or try these fun star-shaped Santa cookies. They are so good and cute that Santa is sure to devour them all himself!

Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  1. Cream butter, shortening, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour and cream of tartar. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. For Santa cookie, use a 3-inch-wide star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red paste food coloring
Small pieces of black licorice or other candy for eyes

  1. Combine all ingredients except food coloring and candy in a medium mixing bowl, blending until smooth.
  2. Divide icing in half; tint one half red. Referring to the photo, ice cookies with red icing.
  3. Spoon white icing into a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip and pipe beards and trim on. Use icing to attach small piece of licorice for eyes.

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