For me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without cookies. I’ve often baked more than 150 dozen in a single season and made tubs of candy besides! I give them to family and friends, or take pretty trays of them to holiday events, because a lot of folks are just too busy to bake these days. My agent and editors receive boxes of cookies every Christmas, as well, and because I’m often asked for the recipes, I’m happy to share them. While they aren’t necessarily Amish recipes, I’ve found that homemade treats cross all sorts of cultural lines. Nothing brings folks together like good food!
I shared this recipe in Winter of Wishes and An Amish Country Christmas, but it bears repeating here: this is the cookie that turns an ordinary tray into a fabulous display of Christmas cookies! I usually make five to six batches of this dough, adding paste coloring and flavored gelatin (see note below). I make and chill the dough one day, bake the cookies another day and store them in a covered container—or in the deep freeze—and then decorate them on another day because it takes several hours to finish about 13 dozen of these!
- 1/2 C. butter, softened (no substitutes)
- 1 C. sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 C. flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg, lemon juice, and vanilla.
- Combine the dry ingredients and gradually add them to the dough until it’s well blended. Tint with paste food coloring, if desired.
- Wrap dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least three hours (it will keep for several days, until you have time to bake).
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Work with half a batch at a time: roll to about 1/4” thickness on a floured surface, then cut with cookie cutters.
- Place cookies 1” apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and bake for 7-8 minutes for softer, chewier cookies and 9-10 minutes (or until lightly browned) for crisp cookies.
- Let cookies cool on the pan for a minute and then remove with a spatula to a cooling rack.
Makes 2-3 dozen.
Kitchen Hint: For flavored sugar cookies, add a 3 oz. package of sugar free gelatin to the dough! I make green dough with lime, yellow dough with peach or orange, and dark pink dough with cherry gelatin. If you use regular sugar gelatin, reduce the sugar in your recipe by a couple of tablespoons.
This is a recipe I learned long ago in a cake decorating class. I love it because it doesn’t taste like shortening, and it dries firm when you decorate cookies or cake. It also freezes well in a covered container if you have any left over.
- 1/2 C. milk
- 1/2 C. softened butter (no substitutes)
- 1/2 C. shortening
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. lemon flavoring
- 6-8 C. (about a pound) powdered sugar
- In a mixing bowl, blend the milk, butter, shortening, and flavorings.
- Blend in the sugar a cup or two at a time, scraping the bowl, until the frosting is thick and forms peaks.
- For colored frosting, use paste coloring to maintain a thickness that will hold its shape during decorating.
- Makes enough to decorate/frost 6 batches of sugar cookies, or a cake.
Kitchen Hint: I divide my frosting into 4 or 5 plastic containers and color one batch with deep pink, one batch with yellow, one with green, one with sky blue and I leave some white. Then I get out my pastry bag and decorating tips, the sanding sugars, jimmies, and miniature M&Ms, and I play! Let the decorated cookies dry/set up for several hours before you store or freeze them.
Charlotte Hubbard draws upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi to write of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her new Seasons of the Heart series. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle, and the foundation of her earlier Angels of Mercy series. When she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.
Purchase Charlotte’s books here.