Baking Christmas cookies with my family as a child was an all day event. My grandmother spent the days before “cookie day” preparing the dough so that when all the grand-kids arrived, only the simple task of decorating remained. She made pinwheels, cookie balls covered in powdered sugar, mini-chocolate chip cookies, but my absolute favorite were the sugar cookies.
Rounds of the sugar cookie dough lined a shelf in my grandmother’s refrigerator. My sister, cousins and I each had our own space sectioned out along the 8-seat dining room table that was dusted with flour. Within each of our little spaces we had tiny cups of frosting, hand-made by mixing powdered sugar with milk and then adding a few drops of food coloring. And, even though we were young and not very dexterous, we tried our hardest to decorate the reindeer, Santa, ornament, and Christmas tree cookies, wielding only a knife and some toothpicks. It was an absolute mess, but we loved it, and I’m pretty sure we ate more frosting than we were actually able to get on the cookies. Nothing tasted better than those Christmas cookies, but cookies aside, the simple act of gathering together as a large family was priceless.
Last year around this time, I came up with a festive take on a simple sugar cookie recipe, which I’ve shared below. Sweeten it up a little more by adding a 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips. Or, make it even more simple by using pre-made sugar cookie dough from the refrigerator isle at the grocery store.
Point of this is, it’s not actually the cookies themselves that make Christmas cookies so special, it’s the memories created that your children will fondly remember most.
Pomegranate Sugar Cookies
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10-12 minutes
Yields: 24 cookies
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl with a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high for 3 minutes, until smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. With the mixer on low, gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined – do not over-mix. Drizzle the pomegranate juice over your cookie dough, and gently fold with a spatula until you see a light lavender swirl.
Place rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough on ungreased cookie sheets, pressing down a bit to flatten. Add 8-10 pomegranate arils on top, pushing down gently on each one to nestle them into the dough.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown and the centers are baked. Let stand on cookie sheets for 1-2 minutes before transferring them to cool completely on a wire rack.
A quick note: Some of my cookies took longer to bake than others – I think it’s because of the pomegranate arils and how juicy they are. Be sure you let them bake thoroughly, or else you’ll end up with gooey centers that fall through your cooling rack!
About Liza Hawkins
With her down-to-earth approach to food, and a dash or two of snark, Liza enjoys eating, reading, cooking, dining and writing on a daily basis. By day, she's an insurance professional, by night she gracefully (or not sometimes) barrels through life keeping up with her blog (a)Musing Foodie, other freelance writing jobs, non-profit work, Twitter and Facebook, her kids, her husband, and whatever else happens to fill her plate. Read her blog here: www.amusingfoodie.com