Baking cookies at Christmastime is another one of our favorite traditions. We usually bake cookies at least twice: cookies for us and cookies for others.
A couple of days before Christmas we bake and decorate sugar cookies. I won't lie, I totally cheat on the sugar cookies. I buy the pre-made dough from the grocery store. Oh, I'm sure homemade from scratch would taste better, and I'm also pretty sure that homemade dough would maybe maintain their shapes a bit better through the baking process (our stars always end up looking more like puffy flowers, and the snowmen look more like snowballs...) But I'm also pretty sure that the girls couldn't really care less...they just have a blast rolling out the dough, cutting out their shapes, and then piling on mounds of icing and sprinkles. They are barely-edible blobs of pure sugar by the time they are done with them...but it is so much fun, and something that we all look forward to every year.
Although I cheat on the dough, I do make my own icing. I just pour a bag of powdered sugar in my mixer and then slowly mix in milk (I don't really measure...I just pour in a little to get it started then add like a Tbsp at a time until it is a good consistency for icing). Sometimes I'm in a hurry and add too much, so I always have an extra bag of powdered sugar on hand and just add more sugar and/or milk until I get it where I like it. I usually add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla just to give it a little flavor. Then I divide it into bowls and add a bit of food coloring (I just use whatever colors I have on hand). Then I put each color into a quart-size freezer ziploc bag and seal them up. These are our piping bags. All I have to do is cut a little bit off of one corner of each bag and the girls can easily squeeze out the icing onto their cookies.
We make a mess, that's for sure. But we have so much fun!
We also make other cookies at Christmastime. Cookies to give away. Cookies to share. Cookies for neighbors, for friends, for teachers...just a little bag or jar of homemade cookies is the perfect gift! And it gives the girls a hands-on way to share love with those around us.
One of our favorite cookie recipes for cookies to give away is my mom's No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop Cookies. I like this recipe because it doesn't require a ton of ingredients and I can make a bunch of them at one time. The girls like it because they get to eat all the drippings or the ones that are "too small." ;) They are super tasty cookies...and they're especially good after sitting in the refrigerator overnight.
This year we're going to stack them in glass mason jars and tie on a little gift tag. Easy peasy way to spread some sweet Christmas joy!
So today I'm sharing this recipe, as well as some printable gift tags that you can use when your family shares a little love with others this Christmas. (scroll on down for the links to the printables)
Happy baking and making and loving and giving....and eating, of course! ;)