Can you believe it’s December?!?! Where did this year go?! I feel like I say that every year, and yet here we are again. The holidays are in full swing which means I’m making and buying cookies left and right!
Cookies are the perfect thing to have on hand when family and friends come to visit. I make them but I also find the store-bought ones to be super super cute. Every store seems to have something festive if you don’t have time to make any in-between closing out work for the year, holiday gift shopping and visiting family and friends. So I usually always have a mix of homemade and store-bought on hand!
This weekend, I’m putting together some of my favorites for some friends that are coming in to town – my super easy sugar cookies, Trevor’s mince pies (it’s sweet, not meaty!) gingerbread cookies the kids can decorate, some shortbread (I ALWAYS have this on hand), some peppermint bark (for the chocolate lovers) and more!!! Like I said – I always have a lot of cookies around!
This is a super easy plate to put together and below, I’m sharing how I made my holiday sugar cookies and Trevor’s mince pies! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Wishing you all a very happy holidays!
Cut-Out Holiday Sugar Cookies
For the cookies
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the royal icing
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Food coloring (optional)
- To make the cookies, cream together butter and sugar until smooth in a large bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
- Once chilled, roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Allow to cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets before removing to a cooling rack.
- To make royal icing: in medium bowl, beat egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until they begin to foam. Gently add in the sugar until completely incorporated. Then, stir in vanilla and beat on high until it becomes very thick (about 5-10 minutes). At this point, you can color your royal icing or separate it into individual bowls and stir in coloring you want. Ice your cookies quickly before the royal icing sets and enjoy!
Mincemeat (Chopped Fruit Filling):
- 1 cup Honeycrisp apple, cored and chopped small (don’t peel)
- 1/2 cup Crisco
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 golden raisins
- 1/4 cup candied ginger
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2-3 tablespoons brandy (optional)
- 1/2 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup ice cold butter
- Milk or egg (for brushing on top)
- Sugar (for sprinkling on top)
- To make the mincemeat, combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large mixing bowl. Mix together thoroughly. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, so the flavors have a chance to mingle and develop.
- An hour before the mincemeat is ready, make the pastry: sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and rub the butter into it until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add just enough cold water to mix to a dough that leaves the bowl clean. Leave the pastry to rest in the bowl in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
- Once cold, roll it out as thinly as possible and cut it into two dozen 3 inch rounds, gathering up the scraps and re-rolling.
- Grease the muffin tins lightly and line them with 12 of the rounds. Fill these with mincemeat to the level of the edges of the pastry. Dampen the edges of the remaining rounds of pastry with water and press them lightly into position to form lids, sealing the edges. Brush each one with milk or egg and make 2-3 snips in the tops. Bake near the top of the oven for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown.
- Cool on a wire tray and sprinkle with icing sugar. When cool, store in an airtight container. Enjoy!