Classic Sugar Cookies

20131223-125513.jpg

My family has lots of traditions. We love traditions because they make things meaningful and special. Things like eating fondu on Christmas Eve, celebrating Advent, and sharing things we love about each other while opening gifts are treasures to our family. As we’ve become adults, these traditions have helped us enjoy the magic of the season. In a way, traditions link together memories year after year, adding new experiences, creating new traditions and cherishing the old ones.
My mom’s Christmas cookies are a must-have tradition in our family. They are absolutely fabulous and so fun to decorate! You may have noticed that I rarely post baked goods here because I’m not a huge baker, but these cookies are so simple and so delicious. They’re my mom’s classic recipe from her Betty Crocker recipe book. Tried and true. I hope you try them!

Merry Christmas, friends!

Classic Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Betty Crocker
makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on size*

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

To Make:

Mix powdered sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Preheat oven to 375. If you just want round cookies, as pictures, take a spoonful of dough, roll it then flatten it. If you want to make shapes with your cookies, refrigerate dough, covered, for at least one hour. Roll it out flat, then use cookie cutters to shape. *My husband likes them thick and fluffy, I like them thin and crisp. If you’re making them larger, add about 1 minute to baking time.

Place cookies in a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes and until the edges are brown. Allow to cool. Decorate with icing and sprinkles.

Icing:

Mix one cup of powdered sugar with 1/4 cup milk. Add more milk until desired consistent is reached. Similar to the texture of honey. Ice cookies and immediately add sprinkles so they will stick.

20131223-131448.jpg

Advertisements

Homemade Granola

DSC_8436

Oh hey! It is December. I love December. Christmas is on it’s way and we get to drink things like peppermint hot chocolate and caramel apple cider. Supposedly cold weather and warm clothing are a part of December as well, but not here in South Louisiana. I guess we are getting ready for a tropical Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking about making some homemade gifts this year, with Pinterest overtaking the world of creativity, there is an abundance of ideas from beeswax candles to adorably packaged baked goods to coffee sets.

To add to your idea list, I give you: homemade granola. Delicious, healthy, easily packaged, pretty to present, and enjoyed by most if not all. My mom has always made the most fabulous granola. This recipe is a bit hers, a bit mine, and a bit of gathered inspiration. Granola can be enjoyed many ways: with cold milk, scooped onto creamy yogurt & berries, as a frozen yogurt topping, or baked into cookies. I hope you try it and you like it!

DSC_8420

Homemade Granola

makes about 12 cups

adapted from Joy the Baker

1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 heaping cup coarsely chopped banana chips (optional, only if you REALLY like them)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To Make:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together coconut, nuts, banana chips (if using), rolled oats, cinnamon, and salt.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the oil, maple syrup, and honey.  Stir until melted together.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Stir together.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the rolled oat mixture.  Toss to coat, insuring that all of the dry ingredients are coated in the maple syrup mixture.  Divide the mixture between the two prepared baking pans.  Spread into an even layer.

Bake granola for 45 minutes, removing the pans every 15 minutes to stir.  Once mixture is evenly browned and toasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

When, done, the granola should be a nice golden color. It will darken after you take it out of the oven. Granola lasts several weeks! Enjoy!