I made two versions of this cookie and everyone liked them both equally. In the first batch of cookies which I made for Thanksgiving this year, I used ½ cup of light brown sugar and ¾ cup granulated sugar. This made the cookie dough more golden which was perfect for the fall leaves cookie cutters I used. In the second batch of cookies I eliminated the brown sugar and used all granulated sugar, 1¼ cups, which resulted in a lighter cookie, perfect for Christmas decorated cookies. Use either version you choose, both were loved by everyone I shared them with.
Room Temperature or freeze
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- 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 to 4 tablespoons milk (preferably whole milk)
- Food coloring (optional)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar; cream together until mixture appears light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour mixture; stir to mix.
- Form dough into a 6-inch flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Baking sheets may be ungreased, lined with parchment paper, or lined with a non-stick baking mat.
- On a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board, and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness. Cut dough into desired shapes using a cookie cutter that has been dipped in flour (to help prevent dough from sticking to the cutter.)
- Bake: Place cutout dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and the edges are very lightly browned. Remove cookies from baking sheets with a metal spatula and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon and beat together until mixture is smooth, adding enough milk to make a good spreading consistency. Tip: when adding the milk, start with 2 tablespoons, then add additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency. Add food coloring if desired.
- Frost cooled cookies, and decorate with some of the frosting tinted with food coloring, if desired. Tip: I frosted ½ of each cookie, then with the leftover frosting used red and green food coloring for the decorations. I put the colored frostings in a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip and piped free-form holly leaves and trees.
- Set aside until frosting is set.