Plain Old Christmas Cookies
These are what I like in those "generic" Christmas cookies - the ones rolled and cut out with cookie cutters and decorated with all kinds of gaudy stuff - I think they should be sandy ( what the French call "sable") in texture, with lots of buttery taste. I suppose some people like cookies that are pale and soft - soft is good for chocolate chip cookies, not these - but hard is not the aim either - they should be, well - sandy ...
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Various Decorations - Cinnamon and sugar, colored sugars, ground nuts ...
Beat butter and sugar together
Add egg and vanilla ( the vanilla can be left out if you want to save money and use some other spice) and mix well.
Add flour, salt ( if you are using salted butter, you need only a pinch of salt), baking powder, and nutmeg (you could substitute cinnamon or allspice - actually, I only used about 1/8 tsp nutmeg - I don't think here more is better - a little spice goes a long way) in two batches. It will be a bit crumbly - kinda like pie dough.
Divide dough into 2 and knead about 5 or 6 times - shaping into a flat disk - place in plastic bag and refrigerate for about 3 hours - repeat with second half. Actually, wax paper is what I usually use to wrap the dough, it's rather under rated these days - but it's good for lots of things, including being microwaveable and cheap.
Take the dough out while the oven heats to 350F. Roll about 1/8 inch thick - this is not Rocket Science - no rulers are necessary!
Cut with small cookie cutters - I don't think these are as good as big cookies - but if you do make various sizes, do them in separate batches so the cooking time will be the same for all the cookies on one sheet.
Place cookies on parchment lined sheet - theses don't spread, so they can be close together. With a pastry brush (or your fingers), glaze the cookies with beaten egg ( this is an extra egg - for glue and to make them shiny- I know it's not listed above in the ingredients, but I often forget to add this glazing egg to recipes ...). The decorate with whatever you like, and then place cookie sheet in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
Bake for about 10 minutes and then remove and let cool.