- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract* (optional)
- 1 egg, at room temperature*
- 1/3 cup high quality eggnog
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Easy Vanilla Icing
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 6-8 tablespoons water
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- assorted food coloring, holiday sprinkles and or candies, to decorate (optional)
- To make the cookies, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about a full 3-5 minutes.
- Add the egg and eggnog and mix until evenly combined.
- Add half the flour, baking soda and salt, beating until combined.
- Then add the remaining flour and beat until the dough forms a ball.
- Generously flour your work surface.
- Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a disk.Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Make sure you are using enough flour or your dough will stick. You can also roll the dough out between two piece of wax paper.
- Cut out the cookies into your desired shapes.
- Carefully transfer the cookies to a parchment line baking sheet.
- Cover the baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the freezer, freeze until very firm, about 25 minutes.
- Roll out the leftover scraps, and repeat with the remaining disk of dough.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until just lightly golden brown. Do not over bake.
- Cool on the baking sheet five minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, combine the sugar and meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Mixing on low speed, add 6 tablespoons water.
- Mix until icing holds a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle.
- Add the vanilla bean seeds and nutmeg, mix until just combined.
- Frost the cooled cookies and decorate as desired. I like to keep things simple and use holiday sprinkles to decorate most of my cookies. You can also use food coloring and color the frosting red, green or whatever colors you like.
- To pipe the icing onto the cookies, add the icing to a gallon size ziploc bag (or a piping bag), then snip of a small portion of the corner off.
* If you do not have almond extract on hand or cannot find it, feel free to just leave it out. BUT if you can find it, I think it really adds a lot.
** To quickly bring your eggs to room temperature, place them in a large bowl with their shells on. Cover them with warm water and let them sit 5 minutes.
*** The cookie dough can also be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. To bake remove from the freezer and let sit on the counter for 5 minutes prior to baking. Bake As directed.