Sugar Cookie Dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 drops green food coloring
Green sugar sprinkles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, add soft butter and sugar and mix on medium speed. In a separate mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the butter and sugar and continue mixing. Add egg, extracts and food coloring and mix until the dough is a consistent color and texture throughout.

Divide dough into two separate balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into about a 12 inch diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Dip cookie cutters into flour before pressing into dough. Remove shapes from dough and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkle with green sugar and bake until cookies are lightly browned. Place cookies on a cooling rack. Decorate as desired.

Christmas tree cookies:
Using the above cookie dough recipe, create and cut out several star-shaped pieces of dough in various sizes. Sprinkle each star with green sprinkles before baking. To make a tree, stack the largest stars on the bottom, place medium-sized stars in the middle and the smaller stars on top. The cookies can be secured by placing a dot of frosting in the center of each star before stacking the next star in the pile.

Decoration suggestions for a Christmas tree:
Use a large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, turned upside down, under the stack of cookies for the appearance of a tree trunk. Frosting, sprinkles, licorice strings, cinnamon disks and various candies can be used to “decorate” the tree.

Christmas Tree “Snow”
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
¾ cup of light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Mix cream cheese in mixer until smooth. Add half the powdered sugar and corn syrup and mix until smooth. Continue to alternate adding powdered sugar and corn syrup until desired consistency is reached. Add almond extract and salt to taste.

Join Chef Char at a fun cooking class at Kitchen 242 in the Muskegon Farmers Market. Tickets to classes can be purchased at this link: