It's hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner. The 2009 holiday season is really creeping up on me and I blame the particularly beautiful month of November (mild, sunny... wonderful!) that we've been enjoying in Montreal. I'm used to seasonal grey and somber weather that tends to push me into thinking about the holidays early as a way to lift my spirits. Not so much this year. With just over 3 weeks to go, I've barely made a dent in my Christmas shopping and I have yet to send out invitations or make plans for holiday entertaining.
I'm not completely unprepared though. I did have the good sense to think ahead and invite a bunch of ladies over for an old fashioned cookie swap. If you've never heard of one of these, the idea is simple and brilliant. Instead of baking up a frenzy during the already busy month of December (trying to have as many yummy baked goods and tasty treats on hand for when family and friends are visiting during the holidays) I will bake a gi-normous batch of one or two types of cookies or bars, invite others to do the same - and then we will "swap". Voila! The results will be a scrumptious variety of home-made desserts to offer my guests. Not bad, huh?
Nothing is ever quite THAT simple or THAT easy. Not for me. If I'm hosting this swap then I want to be sure that my contribution is excellent. So with 2 weeks to go before the cookie party I have begun trying out new Christmas cookie recipes! Way to take the simple out of something that is meant to simplify my holiday preparations! Ah well. I enjoy baking... and it gives me a fun activity to do with Layla. AND maybe I'll find a new favorite recipe??? Maybe.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer (with the paddle attachment) cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until incorporated. With mixer on, gradually add flour mixture. Beat until dough comes together.
- Scoop dough into tablespoon-size balls onto a baking sheet line with parchment paper. Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes) Transfer to wire rack to cool.
- Meanwhile, stir together confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons water. Place wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Once cookies have cooled, top with icing. Sprinkle with sugar and let stand until set.