Big Weather's big recipe: Christmas Cookies 101

I called this week's recipe, Christmas Cookies 101 because if you haven't done them before, you should be able to after watching this video. And if you have, well, it's a pretty good recipe that is REALLY easy.

Also, I had some helpers with the decorating. I'll talk about that in the end. Let's get to it:

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cups sugar
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour

Preparation
1. Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a mixer (beat it until it's fluffy). By letting them come up to room temperature, they mix easier.
2. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Turn on mixer again until they are mixed in.
3. Add 1 cup of flour and mix in. Start on low, or you'll get a flour cloud in your kitchen.
4. Add 2nd cup of flour, and follow step 3.
5. Add last 1/2 cup of flour and mix one more time.

6. Divide dough in two halves, wrap in wax paper, and place in the refrigerator for, at least, 30 minutes. I let mine chill for an hour.
7. Preheat oven to 350
8. Place dough on a floured counter and roll to about 1/4 inch thickness.
9. Cutout cookies, decorate, and place on cookie sheet. I like to use parchment paper to make cleanup easier.
10. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to cooling rack.

To soften the butter and cream cheese, I just leave it out for a while. Some people microwave them, but I always let them go too long and they get too liquid-y so I just leave them out instead.

I know there's a big debate over to decorate before they go into the oven, or to decorate after. We've always decorated before, because I'm too lazy to make the frosting and do it after. By then, I just want to eat them and not work on them some more! I do have a nice frosting recipe. Maybe I'll post that next year.

BTW, my two sons did the decorating this year and if you have a favorite of the decorated ones in my story, let me know on my Facebook page. I think they have a contest between the two of them on which one is the favorite. They are a little competitive. I have no idea where they get that from, probably their mom... ;) Enjoy!

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