The Weber Family Cookie Traditions
I love to bake and love to eat what I bake. The holidays are a perfect time to do both, hopefully more baking and sharing than baking and eating, but we can’t all be perfect. The first recipe, Thumbprints, has been in my life since I can remember. I no longer need the cookbook to make them, and have found out that like everything, they taste way better with butter than the margarine and shortening my mom’s 1980’s cookbook calls for.
The second recipe is new to our family traditions since my mom brought pre-made cookies to decorate to our second holiday celebration with my oldest 3 years ago. I’m pretty sure I am still cleaning up sprinkles from that decorating party today.
Finally, no cookie is complete without even more added sugar. My grandma taught me this icing when I was little with no recipe. Just dump and see. I tried to approximate for you, but it may take some trial and error to get right.
I hope you enjoy baking and making messes with your little ones as much as I do with mine. Standing on a chair baking with my Grandma, Mom, and now my babies; teaching my husband these recipes our first Christmas together; and passing out homemade cookies to our neighbors are some of my favorite holiday memories.
Baking Notes: I’m allergic to diary and my sister is gluten free. The Thumbprint cookies work really well with Bob’s Red Mill 1to1 Gluten Free Flour, just let them cool on the cookie sheet before moving them. Both recipes work well with Earth’s Best Soy Free Butter-Like spread (no need to soften). The sugar cookies taste the same with dairy free cream cheese (or sour cream in a pinch). For the icing I prefer almond milk, but any non-dairy milk would work just fine. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a homemade gluten free sugar cookie recipe that doesn’t fall apart, but the box mixes have always worked well for us!
Betty Crocker Cookbook c. 1980, with modifications
¼ C. packed brown sugar
½ C. butter, softened
1 egg, separated
½ t vanilla
1 C flour
¼ t salt
1 C chopped walnuts
Heat oven to 350F. Mix brown sugar, butter, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix in flour and salt just until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1 inch balls.
In a small bowl, beat egg white slightly. Dip each ball into egg white the roll in chopped walnuts. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet and press thumb deeply in the center of each cookie, creating a bowl-like shape. Bake until light brown, 8 to 9 minutes.
Immediately remove from cookie sheet, pressing thumb into each cookie again as needed to keep shape. Cool. Fill thumbprints with topping of your choice. Jelly is traditional. Chocolate ganache is delicious. The quick icing recipe included is the Weber favorite.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies if you can actually keep the little ones to 1 inch cookies!
Glazed Butter Cookies
The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook, with better icing ;)
2 ½ C flour
¾ C sugar
¼ t salt
1 C butter, softened
2 T cream cheese
2 t vanilla
Mix flour, sugar, and salt at a low speed until combined. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to mix until the mixture looks crubly and slightly wet, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Beat in cream cheese and vanilla until dough begins to form large clumps.
Knead dough into a large mass, about 1 to 3 turns. Divide into 2 pieces and shape into disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, 30 - 60 minutes.
Heat oven to 375F. Work with one piece of dough at a time. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface to ⅛ inch thickness. Cut desired shapes with floured cookie cutters and place onto cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
Cool on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature. Ice with favorite icing, like the easy one included!
Makes about 3 dozen cutouts depending on size.
Easy Cookie Icing
Thanks to my no nonsense Grandmas!
2 C powdered sugar
4 T milk
Put powdered sugar into a small bowl. Mix in milk 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture reaches desired consistency. Color with food coloring in small batches.
Icing should be runny but firm enough to say on the cookie. Will slowly drop off a spoon to fill the Thumbprint Cookies and pipe through a small hole cut in a zip top bag to ice the sugar cookies.
Check out the then and now pictures!
The holidays are about balance. Check out the included bonus workout catered to holiday baking!