We’re at Ellen’s sister Ann’s house for Christmas, making decorated Butter Cookies, something we usually do the afternoon of Christmas Eve. I’ll put the recipe below. Ann made the dough earlier, and chilled it in the refrigerator in several batches. Here she’s rolling one out on the floured counter.
Ann cuts the shapes, and Ellen transfers them with a metal spatula to cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.
When a sheet is full, each person gets to paint on the colors and add sprinkles. Here Ellen and Zach are working on some. The paint is egg yolk with food coloring: red, green and yellow. (Blue doesn’t work well with this method.) The sprinkles are added by dipping one forefinger in uncolored egg white, then in the sprinkles, then on the cookies.
Here’s Ellen’s finished tray. The cookies are baked after decorating in this case. The colors hold up well as long as you don’t burn them. The taste is not as sweet as the more common sugar cookies or gingerbread, but they have a nice lemony flavor that goes well with tea or cider. Here’s the recipe, from Ellen and Ann’s mom:
CHRISTMAS BUTTER COOKIES
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar
Add 3 teaspoons lemon extract
Sift together and add:
2 and 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Chill dough in refrigerator or freezer until stiff. Roll out very thin on floured surface. Cut into shapes. Place on cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Paint with egg glaze and decorate with candies. Bake at 425 degrees for about 6 minutes, until firm and just barely beginning to brown at edges.
Egg Glaze: In each of three bowls mix 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon water and about 1/2 teaspoon food coloring, red yellow and green. Put egg whites in a fourth bowl as a transfer medium for candies, which go in a fifth bowl. Inexpensive watercolor brushes are best for painting.
Ann says, “Make two batches, or you won’t have enough!”