In my recent snickerdoodle biscotti post, I mentioned my talented friend, Lisa. Every December, Lisa spends countless hours mixing, rolling and baking hundreds upon hundreds of cookies for the most amazingly delicious and creative boxes of cookies I have ever seen.
My family was a lucky recipient of one of these magical boxes last year. After Lisa delivered them, the kids and I spent a good fifteen or so minutes going through the individually wrapped cookies. There were three round cut-out cookies iced red, yellow and green–a traffic light! There were pecan squares, three kinds of biscotti, chocolate peanut clusters, an iced partridge and an iced pear (how clever is that?!) And truly, that is just the tip of the iceberg. My kids marveled at the twist ties with snowflakes on them! Every detail was perfectly attended to.
One of the most impressive undertakings is the production of Lisa’s Santa cookies. She graciously shared her recipe after I described the scene last year: There were two Santas in our box. My husband was out of town and we wanted him to see everything, so the kids and I decided we would share just one of the Santa cookies. It was what they were most anxious to taste. With the boys hovering over me, I carefully divided one of the Santas into three pieces and we savored that Santa like no other cookie we ever ate.
Truly, the cookie tasted as delicious as it looked. The level of time, effort and love that went into preparing that box of cookies did not escape us and added to our enjoyment of them. I often think of cooking as a way to show those around us how much we care. This can be seen so readily during the holidays and Lisa captures that essence. Her cookies are really so much more than cookies.
Here is the recipe for the star of the box, graciously share by the master baker. Thank you, Lisa!
- 4 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup butter
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Raisins for eyes
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- Corn syrup mixed with a few drops red food coloring
- Red and white sanding sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and almond extract.
Sift flour and soda together and gradually add to creamed mixture.
Refrigerate dough at least 1⁄2 hour.
Roll dough to 1⁄4 inch thickness. Cut with Santa cookie cutter. Press into mold to imprint features. Press a raisin into each eye socket. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes.
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and milk (1 tablespoon at a time) to create a stiff, but workable frosting. Place into a piping bag with a medium sized star tip.
To decorate: Paint Santa’s hat with corn syrup glaze. Dip in sanding sugar and tap off excess. Dot cheeks and lips with glaze.Pipe frosting on tip of hat. Pipe Santa’s eyebrows, mustache, and beard. Allow to sit, undisturbed overnight.