Holiday Cut-Out Cookies

Holiday Cut-Out Cookies | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
This past weekend the kids and I headed to my sister’s house for a holiday cutout cookies decorating party. It was really a few hours to eat cookie dough and spill sprinkles all over Auntie’s floor, but we all sure had fun anyway. This December has been rather odd for me; our house troubles are still ongoing (we are now currently gutting our entire basement and can’t run our furnace in freezing Minneapolis) and my father-in-law has temporarily moved in with us for a bit (to help with said basement and spend time with the kids). All those things combined make me feel slightly displaced – our home still doesn’t feel like ‘home’ to us as we struggle with trying to find root problems and share space. My facebook feed has also been filled with tragedy this past week, adding another layer of sadness. I’ve been listening to a lot of holiday music, finding solace in lyrics of Christmas cheer and hidden thoughtfulness.

The table is set
And all glasses are full
The pieces go missing
May we still feel whole
We’ll build new traditions in place of the old
Cause life without revision will silence our souls

 So we sing carols softly
As sweet as we know
A prayer that our burdens will lift as we go
Like young love still waiting under mistletoe
We’ll welcome December with tireless hope
-Sleeping At Last, Snow

Speaking of music, check out Eustace the Dragon’s cover of Justice Delivers Its Gift on vol. 3 – I’m in love with their version. Also! they have a holiday EP out now. It’s worth every dollar.

And this made me chuckle: James Thurber pens “A Visit from Saint Nicholas IN THE ERNEST HEMINGWAY MANNER” for The New Yorker, December 24, 1927.

Also: 51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature to cure a bad day.
Cutting Out Holiday Sugar Cookie Dough | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Cutting Out Holiday Sugar Cookie Dough | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Cut Out Holiday Cookies on Silpat | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Cutting Out Holiday Sugar Cookie Dough | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Holiday Cookies and Toppings | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Cookie Icing in A Bowl | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer

Decorating Holiday Cookies | The Vanilla Bean Blog | Sarah Kieffer
We used Food 52’s Holiday Cut-Out Cookie Recipe for our cookies. They were delicious.

Quarterly Co. sent me a lovely box of cookie decorating essentials last week, which is what we put to good use here. The box (curated by Food 52) contained cookie cutters, fancy sprinkles (white pearls, and silver, gold, and green sparkles), icing bags, and also a variety of piping tips. I had heard of Quarterly before but hadn’t checked them out. I must say: what a great idea! Every three months a box arrives in the mail, with handpicked, ‘secret’ items from the curator you selected. “Each product will reflect on the person who selected it, and help inform your understanding of them. So maybe you’ll get the same kind of notebook that your favorite author used to plot her recent bestseller. Or maybe it’s the tea a musician was drinking while he penned a famous track. Or perhaps it’s a secret family cold remedy an artist used while working on a masterpiece. The point is, every object—while uniquely brilliant in its function—will also have a story, and through that story take on new meaning.” I had no doubt that the Food 52 box would be wonderful; anyone who runs the Provisions store has great taste. I’m also very curious about the Book Riot boxes and the For Bookworms box. I think they would make a lovely gifts!
holiday cut-out cookies | the vanilla bean blog
And, while Quarterly did provide me with the box, all opinions (as always) are my own.

  • Reply
    Monday, November 12, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    P.S. to my previous comment. Oh, and I am listening to Eustace and the Dragon and their harmonies just melt me.

  • Reply
    Monday, November 12, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Just read this entry. Got to it through the most recent post. It was so timely for me, the poem, the 8-Track (which is terrific!), the St. Nick in Ernest Hemmingway’s voice, and the 51 best sentences. Your 8-Track is playing as I type. I always look for your entries that include writings, and references to music and literature. They must take time and I am grateful you took it.

  • Reply
    Whit @ Jewhungry
    Thursday, January 1, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I feel ya on the sad facebook feeds as of late. Yikes! Anyway, cookies look beautiful and I hope you had a wonderful New Year. Here’s to the turn of happier Facebook feeds for all our friends and family!

  • Reply
    kristie {birch and wild}
    Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Love these photos! All the best to you in 2015! Hope your house troubles are soon over 🙂

  • Reply
    Tiffany | offbeat + inspired
    Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Love this!! Your photos are always so homey and cozy. Makes me feel like I’m there! Can’t wait to try this recipe too. 🙂 <3

  • Reply
    Sini | My Blue&White Kitchen
    Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 2:49 am

    I’m so so sorry to hear that those troubles with your home have still not been solved! I hope everything will soon be okay, or at least better. I love this post though; the pictures, the feeling of being with family, joyous holiday baking sessions… Some of the very best things this season has to offer!

    Merry Christmas to you and your whole family! xx

  • Reply
    [email protected].com
    Friday, December 19, 2014 at 5:37 am

    I just stumbled on your blog and i have to’s so so beautiful!!! I love these snowflake cookies

  • Reply
    Austin Bay
    Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m sorry to hear about your house troubles…displaced is never a good feeling. Looks like you are eking out the small moments that matter, spending time with your kids + a batch of cookies. This is a beautiful post, love your writing + photography. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 5:58 am

    thank you Sarah I had such a good baking morning with your christmas music?I wish you a warm christmas time?your inspiration is always so wonderful xo Susanne

  • Reply
    Mallory @forkvsspoon
    Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Sarah – I hope that your home begins feeling more like a home soon – house struggles are always a bummer.
    The cookies and photos…my dear, always lovely. And I LOVE the cowboy hat wearing cooking baking kiddo…adorable!

  • Reply
    Monday, December 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    These photos are so incredibly gorgeous, Sarah. You captured the party perfectly. I’m sorry to hear about the house troubles you’ve been having… Hopefully your Christmas this year will be a wonderful one. xx

  • Reply
    Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Beautiful xmas cookies. I too made snowflake-shaped cookies this week, I was sick at home with a nasty flu and had some leftover chocolate cookie dough in the freezer. Mine though didn’t look as pretty as yours cause I was coughing a lot and thought ‘to hell, I’m gonna eat the cookies with a warm cup of milk and curl up in bed’. :-p


  • Reply
    Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I’m listening to your Vol.1 Christmas tracks on 8tracks right now! I love discovering new music! 🙂

    Those cookies look pretty good too!

    Also, I’ve never heard of the Quarterly company before, but it’s an awesome idea! I’ll have to check them out. I wish I knew of them in time for Christmas! Well, there’s always next year! Or for myself 😉

  • Reply
    Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Your recipes are great and you make the most wonderful pictures!

  • Reply
    Carol at Wild Goose Tea
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    A wonderful Christmasy post. I love the poem at the beginning and the marvelous cookies. Very very sweet and touching.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Making cookies like this during the holidays is one of my favorite things to do! These are so pretty!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Bookbag
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    darling Sarah, so bummed to hear about the ongoing house struggles – i’m a-thinking the good thoughts for you! Can I say how thrilled I am to have a new cookie recipe to try for cut-outs? I’m heartily tired of the one I’ve been using for yrs. And these pix – sooooooo lovely. xo to you!

  • Reply
    Hannah C
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Thank you so much for your blog. It truly warms my heart. I am reading the 51 sentences while listening to Sleeping at Last and I am so at peace.

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 10:32 am

    sending you lots of love and hugs, dear!!! i’m so sorry about your house troubles 🙁 you’ve still managed to create these absolutely stunning photos and this beautiful post. they are so inspiring, sarah. xoxoxo

  • Reply
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I hope that life settle in for you and you feel back to ‘normal’ soon! It seems like everything happens all at once, right?!

  • Reply
    Brian @ A Thought For Food
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 9:58 am

    House repairs can be the worst! I’m sorry you’re dealing with all of that… and now, in December. Totally sucky.

    But what’s not sucky are these cookies. They’re festive and look delicious!

  • Reply
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Oh, Sarah. So sorry to hear about house troubles (no furnace in Minneapolis!) and upheaval. It’s always jarring to me to see sadness and tragedy on Facebook — sometimes I feel like it can be such a paradox, present and vivid yet simultaneously distant. (?) Maybe that’s just me. Sending you my thoughts <3 and thank you so much for these absolutely beautiful photos. They capture all the peace and serenity of the holidays, just like Lindsey said.

  • Reply
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 8:37 am

    i can imagine feeling the same non-home, home feeling, given what you’re dealing with. i’m sure it’s got to be a bit more frustrating with the holidays as well. sending good wishes and energy for a speedy house recovery. also, these images are quite beautiful, they inspire feelings of what the holidays are all about! xo

  • Reply
    Emma Galloway
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Loooove the hat shot. So. Damn. Cute. xx

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Love these! Cut-outs are the best!

  • Reply
    Beverly Elaine
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 5:26 am

    The cookies look great, but that adorable guy in the hat stole the show!

  • Reply
    Friday, December 12, 2014 at 2:15 am

    sarah, i can’t believe your house troubles are still happening! i wish i could say something clever and witty that would make you feel better about all that is happening right now, but alas, i’m horrible at that! but, home is more of a feeling than an actual place and it seems to me that you and your family are quite home-y together. as long as you’ve got cookies to decorate, i’m thinking everything’s gonna be alright sending my love! 🙂

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