As my sincerest, most joy-filled thank you to my readers and dear author friends who have supported the release of Navy Christmas and Navy Joy in Coming Home for Christmas, may I present my most closely-held family recipe! If I could have sent a dozen of these to each of the military and their family that you helped me send books to, I would have. Enjoy!
Geri’s Christmas Cut-Outs
This recipe is a combination of my Polish-American Grandmother’s huge cut-out cookies, and my mother’s Christmas cookies, topped with my aunt’s incredible frosting.
Sour Cream Cut-Outs
(very loosely adapted from Southern Living’s Sour Cream Cookies in their Christmas Cookies book of 1986):
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar (I like to use turbinado or raw cane but white is best for special occasions)
1 8-oz container of sour cream
2 tsps anise flavoring (all natural is best) note: my grandmother’s original recipe says “use 39 cents worth of anise.”
4-5 cups flour (I use King Arthur Unbleached but Whole Wheat Pastry flour works fab, too)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Cream butter and sugar, add egg, anise, sour cream. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, add to wet mix very slowly but make sure to mix well. You will need extra flour later, for rolling out dough. Divide the dough into thirds and chill for at least an hour. I usually make the dough a few days before I am ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 350.
Roll dough onto floured surface to ¼” and cut out in desired shapes (you can go thinner but they won’t be as scrumptious, plus you want a substantial cookie to hold the frosting). These cookies will rise and expand in the oven so leave enough room between them on the cookie sheet. Place cut-outs on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes depending upon thickness. They are done when very lightly browned. Cool on racks before frosting. Sometimes I don’t get to the frosting until the next day, that’s okay– just make sure you store in an airtight or foil-topped container.
Aunt Margie’s Frosting
½ cup milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
Mix the above 2 ingredients and cook in medium saucepan until it thickens. Stir in:
1 tsp vanilla
½ c. butter (softened)
1 lb. confectioner’s sugar
Beat with a hand mixer (or stand) until creamy. Divide up as desired and color with food coloring. White with different colored sprinkles is always a hit. Frosting will set as it dries on the cookies. We set up a cookie decorating workshop and I put my family to task (since I’ve done all of the baking). They can decorate 12 dozen inside of 90 minutes!