When I think of Christmas, I think of making cookies. I’m not entirely sure why, as I’m typically snatching up panettone, stolen, and pies by the armful. Cakes and pies typically fill my oven, not cookies. But there’s something about the Christmas cookie tradition that always tugs at my heart. I want to be in the kitchen all day and make tons of cookies.
Mom tells me all the time about spending a day baking cookies with her mother-in-law and sister-in-law before I was even born. They made all different kinds, enjoying the day and the efforts of their labor. Unfortunately those in-laws, my grandmother and aunt, are no longer with us and I’ve never had one of those cookie baking days. Recently one of our family friends went over to a sick friend’s house to make cookies with her. This woman makes thousands of cookies every year and wouldn’t have been able to do it without this friend’s help. Now that is the Christmas spirit truly at work. Cookie traditions seem to bring out the best in people.
Mom and I bake together all the time, and I want to make sure we do our fair share of cookie baking this holiday season. Not all in one day, though. There are some impracticalities with the whole making five different kinds of cookies in one day. There simply aren’t enough bowls, cookie sheets, cooling racks, and utensils in my kitchen. There’s not enough oven space, not to mention tummy space. One recipe, two on a super energetic day, leaves me exhausted and ready for a break from the kitchen. Don’t worry, even though I won’t be making them all on one day, I’ll be posting quite a few cookie recipes and Giant Sugar Cookies are the perfect place to start.
I love sugar cookies, but so often I buy one at a bakery or try a recipe and am so disappointed. They’re too dry or cakey or bland. Not these cookies. These have a crunchy border with a soft, almost gooey center. They scream classic sugar cookie texture and taste with tons of vanilla. And they are seriously giant, as the name suggests. I believe a cookie must be huge in order to be enjoyable, but if you like smaller cookies, make them smaller, just watch the bake time very closely. This Christmas I’m going to curl up on the sofa watching Elf for the millionth time and enjoying a Giant Sugar Cookie, thinking of the next batch of cookies that will hit the oven. Maybe one day I will go for the full day of cookie baking, but until then, I’m happy with these.
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand mixer would work too. Add vanilla and egg and mix until once again light and fluffy. Mix in half of the flour, followed by the sour cream, and the remainder of the flour. Mix until just combined.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto cookie sheets, 5 cookies per sheet. Divide any remaining batter among the cookies. Sprinkle liberally with sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating after 10, until the edges are set and very lightly brown. I recommend baking one sheet of cookies at a time. Cool completely on pans. May be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or frozen wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart