Life is a special occasion

Holiday Cookies

Lately, Real Simple and I are holding hands and skipping down a dirt road together on a warm, fall afternoon. Seriously, I am all over this website because it is filled with...really simple ideas. Today, the really simple idea that jumped out at me was sugar cookies, which are a fantastic gift that can be decorated and given to coworkers and acquaintances, as a hostess gift for a holiday party, gifts for children to give to their friends, for the neighbors, even family members. Everyone loves cookies and it's a gift that wont break the bank! The cookies can be placed in a tin or in your own favor bag with a label like I did for one of my customers.

The recipe I found makes about 40 cookies and will take you a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Basic Sugar Cookie Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for shaping the cookies
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1.In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2.Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
3.With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff). Shape into a disk and (unless otherwise specified in an individual recipe) refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
4.Make cookies according to directions below.
5.Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Holiday Cutout Cookies

1.Divide the basic sugar cookie dough in half (do not substitute slice-and-bake dough). On a floured surface, roll each piece out ¼ inch thick.
2.Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Refrigerate on baking sheets until firm.
3.Sprinkle with decorating sugar and bake at 350° F on parchment-lined baking sheets until just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
4.Cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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