Tips for St. Nicholas Cookies

These are recipes and tips that we sent out with our cookie cutters. Alas, the cutters are no longer available, but these ideas may be adapted to use with other cutters. Here is an assortment of available cutters, some metal, some 3-D printed . Do remember that 3-D printed cutters are not dishwasher safe.

Decorated with Aetco tips #2 & #5

Rolled Cookie Tips

  • Cookies with outline cutters look best if dough is rolled about 1/8-inch thick
  • Cutters with inset detail require dough to be 1/4-inch think
  • Regular margarine, not butter, makes an easy-to-handle dough; if using butter be careful not to chill too long or the dough will become too hard to roll
  • Use a lightly floured pastry cloth & rolling pin cover
  • Dough sticks, rolling pin guides, make it easy to control dough thickness
  • Dip cutter with inset detail in flour deep enough to coat the inset parts before cutting each cookie
  • If dough is too soft, chill even if recipe doesn't say to; if too stiff after chilling, let stand at room temperature before using
  • Roll from the center out, not clear across the dough as that toughens the cookies
  • Dough may stick in inset cutter; if dough is sticky add a bit more flour. It may be helpful to dust the top of the dough with flour so it doesn't stick to the cutter. Do not roll thicker than 1/4-inch.
  • Roll all the dough once before combining scraps to re-roll
  • Wash 3-D printed cutters by hand; do not put in dishwasher; these cutters will melt if put in dishwasher, microwave or oven.
Decorated with Ateco metal tips #3 & #5

Decorated with Aetco tip #4 for mustache & cross; #27 for crozier; mini chips for eyes
Our Speculatius recipe is a recommended for rolled cookies as it doesn't spread very much. The following Ginger Cookies is another one.

St Nicholas Ginger Cookies

1/3 cup soft shortening
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups light molasses
2/3 cup cold water
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Mix shortening, brown sugar and molasses thoroughly.
  2. Stir in water. Blend all dry ingredients; stir in. Chill.
  3. Heat oven to 350°.
  4. Roll 1/4 inch thick on floured pastry cloth using a rolling pin cover.
  5. Cut with cutter.
  6. Place several inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake about 15 minutes, or until no imprint remains when touched lightly. Makes about 4 dozen.

St Nicholas Sugar Cookies

Color glaze ½ red. Use a butter spreader to glaze red miters & white beards. Let set thoroughly. Melt chocolate, use a toothpick to make eyes & mouth. Thicken remaining white glaze with confectioners sugar so it holds its shape, but not too stiff to squeeze through a decorating bag. Add yellow food coloring. Ateco tip #4 for the cross. 
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 cup butter or regular margarine
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond flavoring
2½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Cream sugar and butter.
  2. Mix in egg and flavorings.
  3. Mix dry ingredients together; add.
  4. Refrigerate 1-2 hours (less if using butter).
  5. Roll out with lightly flowered rolling pin cover on lightly floured pastry cloth to 3/16-1/4-inch thick.
  6. Cut out (dip cutter in flour deep enough to coat the inset parts for each cookie) and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
  7. Bake 375 6-7 minutes, until beginning to brown.
  8. Optional: Glaze cooled cookies with:
Glazed & Ateco tip #4

Easy Cookie Glaze

2 c. sifted confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond flavoring (almond doesn't discolor glaze)
1/4 scant teaspoon salt
liquid: 2 tablespoons water or 3 tablespoons cream

Mix together, adding enough liquid to spread easily, flowing just a bit.

Paint on cookies with pastry brush.

Easy Decorating Icing

2 c. sifted confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon flavoring (vanilla or almond)
1/4 scant teaspoon salt
liquid: 1 1/2 tablespoon water or 2 tablespoons cream

Mix together, adding enough liquid to hold its shape, but not too stiff to squeeze through decorating bag and tube.
Mini-chip eyes; Ateco tip #5 for mustache & cross, tip #7 for crozier

Recipes adapted from Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book, 1961.

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