My Favorite Christmas Cookies

2019-06-19
  • Yield : makes 2 to 3 dozen (depending on if you reroll the scraps)
  • Prep Time : 20m
  • Cook Time : 15m
  • Ready In : 35m
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Ingredients

  • 2/3 cups vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange or lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 to 3 drops food coloring
  • One 2-pound bag powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites

Method

Step 1

For the cookies: Using a stand mixer, cream the shortening, granulated sugar, orange peel and vanilla thoroughly, about 2 minutes. Add in the egg and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 more minute. Add in the milk and mix.

Step 2

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, and then blend into the cream mixture. Divide the dough in half (thirds if you double your recipe), slightly flatten between 2 sheets of waxed paper and refrigerate for 1 hour (or freeze for 20 minutes).

Step 3

Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Transfer the shapes to lightly greased cookie sheets and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Step 4

For the egg yolk glaze: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. While the dough is chilling, combine the egg yolk, 1 teaspoon water and food coloring. Paint the cookies (with a soft brush) with the egg yolk glaze.

Step 5

Bake the cookies for 6 to 7 minutes. Do not allow the cookies to brown. The cookies will be slightly puffed and the glaze will look crackled. Bake in 2 batches if you don't reroll the scraps.

Step 6

For the decorative white icing: While the cookies are baking, mix the powdered sugar, milk and egg whites. Make sure that it is thick and somewhat retains its shape.

Step 7

Remove the cookies from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Step 8

Then, using a pastry bag or zip-top bag, pipe the cookies with the white icing to decorate.

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