Fannie Farmer’s Christmas Sugar Cookies, 1945
Fannie Farmer’s first edition of her famous Boston Cooking - School Cookbook in 1896 included cookie recipes, but none specifically for Christmas. It wasn’t until the 1920 edition that the Fannie Farmer cookbook included a recipe for Christmas English Gingerbread. Her recipe for Christmas Sugar Cookies appeared in the 1945 edition. Food blogger Mary Gage writes that the Christmas cookie tradition was firmly established in New England by then, helped by World War II. Cookies were easily shipped and kept well. .
Step 1: Ingredients
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Add sufficient flour [1½ to 2 cups] to make stiff enough to roll
Step 2: Cream Butter and Sugar
1. Cream 2 softened sticks of butter on medium speed for 30 seconds
2. Add one cup of sugar and mix for 1 minute.
3. Scrape sides, mix for another minute. Scrape.
Step 3: Liquids
1. Add in two eggs and beat for 1 minute on medium
2. Add one Tbs milk, mix
3. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and mix.
Step 4: Dry(mostly) Ingredients
1. Add 1 tsp of baking powder, mix for 30 seconds on low
2. Add 1/2 tsp of vanilla, mix for 30 on low
3. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, mix for 30 on low
4. Add 1 tsp baking powder, mix on low for 30
Step 5: Form Dough
1. Gradually and slowly add your flour, 1/2 cup at a time, no more than 2 cups total.
2. Dough ball for yummy cookies!
3. Wrap with saran and label, place into fridge.
Step 6: Make Cookies!
1. Gather everything you need:
- Chilled dough, removed from fridge 30-45 minutes prior to use
- Rolling pin
- Rolling surface(try a pizza stone if you never have - works great!
- Cookie cutters in a variety of shapes and sizes
- Small amount of flour for dipping cutters into
- Lined cookie trays
- wire rack for cooling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Roll dough out to 1/4" thick.(these puff up nicely, so not for use with imprint or detailed cutters). Fit in as many shapes as possible! : )
3. Place cut cookies onto lined trays and bake for about 10 minutes(peek underneath cookies starting at 8 minutes)
4. Let cool on trays for a few minutes. Transfer to wire racks to finish cooling off completely.
Step 7: Decorate With Icing/frosting
We are not done yet!
It actually takes longer to get the finicky icing made than to decorate the whole tray of cookies, well, for me anyways.
My advice is always start with the confectionery sugar and Slowly add small amounts of liquid. The original recipe suggested choices of liquid such as water, milk, cream or even fruit juice, but since I am mailing these I don't want a dairy-based frosting on cookies that won't be refrigerated. For extra flavor I added honey from our bees!
I used very hot water, 1/4 cup's worth, and to that added Confectionary sugar, 1 Tbs at a time. If you want to ice your cookies, the consistency should be thinner, naturally. I wanted to pipe line designs to needed mine more like a frosting.
1. I bought a basic decorating tip kit, you can certainly make your own just using a freezer bag with a small hole snipped at the bottom.
2. Tools to gather: Glass measuring cup for hot water, small sifter, tsp or Tsp, small whisk, of course your confectionery sugar, and honey if you wish.
3. Cookies should be plenty cooled down now for decorating.
4. All decorated! Took under 10 minutes.
Store in lined cookie tins, or,
5. Package nicely for gift-giving. I was able to fit 2 large and 3 small cookies in this vintage lace-wrapped bundle.
Oh, and this is my 100th Instructable!!