One of my friends started a great tradition a few years ago: baking cookies the weekend before St. Nicholas! Since then, my friend has moved back to Europe, but we still keep the tradition. This year, it was just two of us left from the old team so we kept it simple and only made two types of cookies. We always like to decorate some, so I chose to make sugar cookies and colored icing. I didn’t have time to browse too many recipes, so I just picked one from the Joy of Baking. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures while making the dough, so this post will only have pictures of the cookies.
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy (a few minutes). Beat in eggs one at a time. Add 1 cup of the flour and the remaining ingredients. Beat until mixed. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time. Use the mixer until the dough is too dense, then switch to kneading it. Once done, chill the dough in the fridge for about 1 hour.Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove half of the dough from the fridge, roll it out on a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick (mine ended up being thinner than this). Cut out the cookies using your favorite holiday cutters and arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Baked until the edges are starting to brown (10-12 minutes).
Repeat with the remaining of the dough. While the cookies are cooling down you can prepare the icing. I used to make a regular butter and sugar icing before, but this year I tried a meringue icing and it was so good and much prettier than the regular icing.
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp meringue powder
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 + cup water
Mix in the sugar and meringue powder. Add water and almond extract and beat until fit forms stiff peaks and it looks glossy. Divide in multiple bowls and add your favorite colored dyes. I just did red and green so they look Christmasy 🙂
You can use sprinkles to give the cookies more color or add eyes and such 🙂 Keep decorating until you ran out of cookies, icing or patience 🙂 We made just 3 plates and kept one plate of cookies simple. This recipe made a lot of cookies (I counted until 50 and then gave up :-)) so if you don’t need this many you can easily halve the recipe.
These cookies turned out so pretty and tasty. I really love the meringue icing and will not go back to the regular one for decorating cookies. Decorating these was a lot of fun and everyone can do it, even non-bakers 😉
Happy St. Nicholas!