Karen’s granddaughter, Presley, decorates sugar cookies under Santa’s supervision.

I am overwhelmed with Christmas cookie recipes. From no-bake oatmeal cookies and lemon cracker bars to my sister’s cut-out-cookie recipe, I don’t know where to start. All this before I dive into our family’s Greek cookie making frenzy. Not to mention the dozen or more online cookie recipes I have collected this year alone … “Soft cookie, hard cookie, little puff of sugar … Chewy cookie crispy cookie gooey gooey gooey!” We need several more days in December to make the variety of cookies I have collected throughout the years. I will do my best to post a few here … So, grab a big glass of milk or whatever you are drinking this holiday season and “Please join our table” as we indulge and enjoy the sugar rush that comes with the cookies and the season.

The Best Darn Sugar Cookies in Texas

I created this recipe in 1987 for the grand opening of “The Texas Barrel,” a bulk food store in Humble, Texas. I gave out the recipe along with a cookie cutter to all who attended the grand opening. The store closed a few years after opening, but I bet there are a few people still around that remember the store and my cookies!

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

3/4 cup of sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons evaporated milk

1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat in egg, evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir well and chill for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll and cut out dough using Texas or Christmas shaped cookie cutters available at Amazon. I usually use a boot, an armadillo, a cactus and a lone star. Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes. Let cool and frost.

The Best Darn Sugar Cookies in Texas Option 2

As the years passed, I edited and elaborated on my many sugar cookie recipes. Here is my option 2. They are soft, cut out sugar cookies that keep their shape and I love that the dough doesn’t need to be chilled before baking. When they are done baking, they have perfect edges every time! Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until smooth, at least 3 minutes. Beat in extracts and egg. In a separate bowl combine baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer, turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Sparingly wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand. DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (close to 1/4 inch thick). Bake for 6 minutes to test. They should be soft. Remove from oven but leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cool completely. If when baking you reach 7-8 minutes and the edges turn brown, your cookie will be crisper.

Note: You can use salted butter (just leave out the 1/2 teaspoon salt from the recipe). In the past I've omitted the salt and the recipe is fine.

If you must chill the dough, just leave it on the counter top for 10 minutes before rolling or work the dough with your hands for a few minutes. You can omit the almond extract if you don’t have it available, but the taste is really fantastic with the hint of almond. Keep in mind that the recipe will make about 3 dozen cookies but will vary depending on how thick you roll your cookies and how large or small your cutters are.

Easy Raspberry Oat Crumb Bars

Makes 24 bars

INGREDIENTS

1 15-ounce yellow cake mix

2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

3/4 cups butter, melted

1 cup raspberry preserves or the berry of your choice

2-3 teaspoons water

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper or grease with cooking spray. Mix cake mix and oats in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir until crumbly. Press down half the crumbs onto the bottom of the pan. Combine raspberry preserves and water in a small bowl and stir until combined. Carefully spread strawberry preserves over the crumb crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over the raspberry preserves and press down gently. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until very lightly golden brown. Cut into bars and serve warm or cool. I sometimes sift a bit of powdered sugar on top.

Karen’s Double Candy Shortbread Cookies

Have you ever bought those melt-in-your-mouth Walker’s shortbread cookies? You know the ones in the red plaid box? If you have, you will remember the rich sweet buttery taste of each and every single one of those cookies you ate! You are in luck because you can now make a jazzed-up version at home. I found an easy copycat recipe that I jazzed up with chocolate and/or Werther’s crushed candy. A cookie I enjoyed while visiting Edinburgh, Scotland in 2008 inspired this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted goat butter, room temperature

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

8 pieces of Werther’s candy, crushed

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium size bowl sift flour and salt and set aside. In another bowl, mix butter on high speed until fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). Add sugar slowly, continuing to mix until pale and fluffy. Add flour mixture, chocolate chips and the Werther’s candy all at once and mix until combined. Butter a square pan. Pat and roll shortbread into pan no more than 1/2 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Cut into squares. Bake 45 to 60 minutes until golden and the middle is firm. Cool completely.

Note: Sometimes I omit the chocolate chips and add just the crushed candy instead or vice versa.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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