Friday, December 23, 2016

Cut Out Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Soft Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies with Perfect Frosting

Makes 2-3 dozen sugar cookies
Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (includes chill time)
Cook time: 10 minutes


1 c unsalted butter room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (do not use fat free)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
1 t lemon zest
3 c all purpose flour (I use King Arthur:
1-1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt

3 c powdered sugar
3-4 T milk
2 T light corn syrup
3/4 t almond extract
food coloring, as desired
sprinkles etc. for decorating
(I used the snowflake cookie cutters from King Arthur:


1. In large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and beat until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the cream cheese and beat for a minute, scrape down the bowl once more and beat in the vanilla, almond extract, and lemon zest until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

2. In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing just until fully incorporated and a soft dough is formed.

3. Divide the dough into quarters. if using the dough within 24 hours, roll each quarter to a 1/4" thickness between two sheets of parchment paper (I use these sheets: you can store the dough in a ball or disk and roll out when ready to cut and bake). Be careful not to roll the dough to thin, or the cookies will be too crisp. Keeping the dough flat, transfer it to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour or overnight. (You can stack the dough "flats" on top of each other to save space.) You can also freeze the dough in tiptop bag for up to a month, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then proceed with the recipe.

4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (I use the silicone mats: Remove one dough flat from refrigerator and cut with cookie cutters. Repeat with remaining dough.

5. Bake 9-11 minutes until barely lightly golden brown and edges are dry. Cookies will look slightly under baked. Let cool completely.

6. Make the frosting by stirring together the powdered sugar and 3 T of milk (it will be pretty solid at this point). Beat in the corn syrup and almond extract until the frosting is smooth and glossy. If it is too thick add milk 1 t at a time, until desired consistency. Add few drops of food coloring. Frost and decorate.

(This recipe is from

Struffoli (Italian Popcorn)

My Grandma made this every year and called it pinalada (but I don't think that's the real name for it!). It is also nicknamed "Italian Popcorn." It is a family favorite.

4 c flour
2 gal + vegetable oil
cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon from
Chopped up large Hershey chocolate bars
8-9 eggs
2 jars of 3 lb. honey
1 lb. roasted almonds

Mix flour and eggs. Set aside and cover. Roll into strips on sheet dusted with flour. Let set for a few minutes. Use special deep fryer with new cold oil every other time. Cut rolls into pieces diagonally. Deep fry; strain. Put in grocery paper bags and change the bags for 2 days to absorb extra oil.


Heat honey in saucepan, warming up with 1 T sugar. Add balls, a LOT of cinnamon and roasted almonds. Mold into cone-shaped "tree." (Dip hands in ice water if having problems molding.) Top with chopped chocolate and roasted almonds after mounding.