I got tired of competing, so I bought a leaf-shaped cutter and moved to November. My Autumn Sugar Cookies have become the big fish in the small pond, the unexpected surprise, the anti-pumpkin pies.
At last year’s extended-family Thanksgiving, the pies were all called for, the turkey was being pre-ordered, the stuffing recipe was a family tradition that couldn’t be broken. What was left for me to contribute? It was too early for Christmas cookies. . .or was it? For the past several years, during December, the kids came home with cookies from school, coworkers handed out cookies, and the neighbors brought by beautiful tins of cookies (sometimes knocking on the door to deliver them at the same time I was making my own). My humble, yet lovely, sugar cookies got lost. Then I discovered a way to really make them stand out: make them in Fall.
Not everybody likes pumpkin pie. Sometimes it takes longer than anticipated for the turkey to cook, and it’s nice to have something sweet while waiting. Colorful little cookie leaves, floating around among the density of the pies, look pretty on the Thanksgiving table. There are a lot of reasons that it’s okay to make sugar cookies a month early.
Holiday preparations and obligations during December have become overwhelming, and we’re inundated with treats over the holidays. It’s okay to buy the leaf cookie cutter and call them Autumn Sugar Cookies. I’ve used this recipe for 20 years, and according to the scribbles on the scrap of paper, it originally came from my friend Jay’s grandmother. No matter where it came from, or when they happen, they’re very good.
makes about three dozen cookies
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix. Form into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. Dust counter and rolling pin with flour and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes. Cook for about 6 minutes at 400 degrees.
Icing: Beat together a half box powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons softened butter and 2 tablespoons milk. Add more milk or powdered sugar as needed for icing to reach the consistency of your liking.