I’ve saved the best two for last here, kids. This is Number 6 in my “7 Cookies of Christmas” series. Almond sugar cookies along with the recipe being saved for next Sunday are my mom’s most requested. And for good reason. In fact, a whole heap of favorite recipes are going to be thrown at you in the coming week or so as we near the big day. An abundance of Christmas nourishment and festivity, you could say.
The following is a revision of a post first published on the old Transplanted Baker in the days leading up to Christmas, 2008. Enjoy!
A package arrived on our doorstep the other day. A large package. A package so large that you have to properly bend and lift with the knees, not with the back. A package so large that you have to spread your arms out as wide as they go and hug the box as you carry it into the house. A package from America....
Amongst other carefully wrapped gifts, a small, green, ceramic cookie press was enclosed with the directions to -OPEN RIGHT AWAY- DON’T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS!- With instructions like those, you better do as directed or come Christmas, you may have already missed out on something good. Something delicate. Something fragrant with vanilla and almond. Something beautiful. Something oh-so- holiday appropriate. Something like this:
Poetry aside, the cookie press was sent by my ma, with the intent of allowing me to make her famous Almond Sugar Cookies before the holidays arrived. Her plan worked and now I’ve been able to spend an entire Sunday morning creaming, and mixing, and pressing, and baking. Now, for those of you without an adorable Christmas tree cookie press, a standard kitchen glass will do just fine. Dip that glass into a bowl of sugar, press away and in 15 minutes, you’ll have cookie sheets with legendary cookies and a house that smells the way those lotion stores at the mall really should- sweet and fresh and delicious, but not the least bit artificial.
I recommend you use some decent vanilla and almond extract and let those flavors shine through nice and pure. Not to say you stock your kitchen cupboards with crappy ingredients, but if you do happen to have a bottle of really good vanilla, this would be the time to ration some of it out. You can certainly make a half batch, which will yield a good 3 dozen cookies, but why not save yourself the trouble down the road when the cookie tin is suddenly empty? Make the full amount now and you’ll have a tin with the best Christmas cookies through New Years!
Mom’s Almond Sugar Cookies
Mandel og sukker småkaker frå mamma
*makes about 6 dozen medium-sized cookies
1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 1/4 - 4 1/2 cups (600 –650 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon each: salt, baking soda, cream of tartar - Add these to flour before mixing with other ingredients
Mix in order given, chill for a couple of hours if possible . Roll into one-inch (1/2cm) balls, place on baking sheet, press down with cookie stamp or bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Sheet should not be greased and no need for parchment paper. Bake at 375F/190C for about 15 minutes. Remove from sheet, cool on wire rack.