For the last two years I have had my friends over to decorate holiday cookies.  As a little girl I remember having friends over or going to their house to do the same with my mom. It has always been one of my favorite activities–sharing stories, laughing, drinking egg nog, finding inspiration from other people’s creations, and eating cookie dough.

This year was an all  girl get-together and we change it up a little and included a cookie exchange which I will feature in part 2. I provided the sugar cookies to decorate and the girls brought the decorating tools like icing, sprinkles, and cookie cutters. We had a ton of fun decorating and even decorated some gluten-free cookies.

Here are some of our creations:

My friend Autumn provided some gluten-free cookies to decorate:

I made Frosty the Snowman:

Everyone had their own style and technique:

Stay tuned for part 2…

Cut-out sugar cookies (recipe from the kitchn)
3 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
9 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

n the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and add the sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until golden. Add the cream cheese and again beat until well incorporated. Add the flavorings and lemon zest.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then add, bit by bit, to the butter/sugar mixture until fully incorporated. (You will have chosen a large bowl for this particular recipe, I hope – mine was overflowing by this point and I ended up doing the final mix in a large plastic bag.)

Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour — preferably overnight.

Heat the oven to 350° F. Divide the dough into smaller balls and roll out 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out cookies.

Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness. The small, thinner ones started browning after about 8 minutes, and I didn’t want these brown at all. The larger ones had a slight golden bottom after 11 minutes, which was perfect for my purposes.

Let cool before icing or decorating, and store in a tightly covered container. Makes 8-12 dozen.

The girls:

The Holiday Cookie Crew