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Our Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes

Whether baking cookies for Santa or to take to a holiday party, these fun and festive recipes are sure to please.
Gingerbread Cookies
Recipe from Real Simple
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Beat butter and sugar in bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until smooth. Add the molasses and egg; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low.
3. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt, then add slowly to the butter mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Shape into a flat disk. Refrigerate, wrapped, for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes and place on lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until firm. Cool slightly on sheets before transferring to cooling racks.

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Recipe from Martha Stewart Living
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 400F, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
2. Sift together first four ingredients; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, shortening and 1-1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients and beat to combine.
3. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small (1-1/4 ounce) ice-cream scoop to form balls of the dough and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 5 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

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Butter Cookies
Recipe from Gourmet
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Coarse or sanding sugar for garnish

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl.
2. Beat together butter and sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 minutes with a handheld mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
3. Form dough into a 12-inch log (2 inches in diameter) on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll up dough in plastic wrap. Chill dough on a baking sheet until firm, at least 4 hours. Dough log can be chilled up to 5 days or frozen, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap, 1 month. If frozen, thaw dough in refrigerator just until it can be sliced.
4. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat over to 375F.
5. Cut enough 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices from log using a heavy knife to fill 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging slices about 1 inch apart (chill remainder of log, wrapped in plastic wrap). Sprinkle slices with coarse sugar to garnish.
6. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.

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