As a little girl in Oklahoma, my mom and I would go to a living nativity every year. I just loved going and have missed it every year since my mom and I moved to Phoenix. So, if you’re counting (and not that I am), that’s 23 Christmases without a living nativity. It’s not that churches in Phoenix are opposed to living nativities, it’s just that we sorta stopped going.
Well this year, my church is doing one! I’m so excited!! As soon as I heard the announcement asking for volunteers, I knew I had to get involved. While it was sweet of Pastor Jeff to ask me to play Mary, I told him I’d just bring some sugar cookies instead. It would be fun to be in the nativity, but helping hot cocoa mustache-wearing kids decorate sugar cookies will be much more fun.
I’m not usually a huge fan of sugar cookies. Scratch that. I wasn’t usually a fan of sugar cookies. Not until Katie helped me find this recipe, that is. These are so delicious. The almond and vanilla give them a round and rich flavor and the lemon really pops without making them lemon cookies. If you’re still searching for the perfect Christmas sugar cookie, I promise you this is it.
1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 TBSP lemon zest
5 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add in vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.
3. Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time. Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.
5. Either roll and cut out or roll into logs, wrap with wax paper,chill for 30 minutes more, and slice. Place on baking sheet lined with a Silpat mat, parchment paper, or foil with the dull side up and bake for 7-8 minutes (for cookies approx. 1/4 in. thick).
**Note: Dough can be chilled for up to a week in the fridge or frozen. If freezing dough, put it in an airtight container and freeze. Place in refrigerator the night before baking so the doug will be pliable.