“We are lucky to be living in an age where we have products that our grandparents never even dreamed of, probably because they had priorities . . . So nowadays you can buy a package of cookie cutters that comes with a menorah shape, a dreidel shape, a Magen David, a shield, and a Maccabee. At least we think it’s a Maccabee. We’re not sure what the Maccabees looked like, but they probably looked like gingerbread men.” –“Chanukah Gelt,” Mordechai Schmutter, Inyan Magazine, Hamodia, December 17, 2014.
Yes, the Maccabees in the Chanukah cookie cutter set are basically just gingerbread men–that is until you decorate them. My daughter added tzitzit and kippot, which at least makes them obviously Jewish gingerbread men.
Easy is probably not the right word for these cookies. You still have to make a dough, roll it out, cut out shapes, bake the cookies and then decorate them.
I really mean easier Chanukah cookies. The dough is oil-based, which means you can just stir everything together instead of getting out the mixer to cream the butter and sugar together. That is easier.
The hard way to decorate cookies is with lots of different colors of royal icing in lots of different piping bags. The easier way is dipping the cookies in icing, letting the icing dry and then drawing on details with food coloring markers.
So, easier, not easy, but still . . .
Adapted loosely from Erica’s Grandma’s Pareve Sugar Cookies. Another, very similar, oil-based sugar cookie dough that I have made is here (cow cookies).
2 cups flour (9 oz.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. oil (3 oz.)
1 Tbl. water
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (3.75 oz.)1 tsp. vanilla
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
In another bowl, combine the oil, water, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir the flour mixture into the sugar/egg mixture. The dough might look a bit wet, but it will get less sticky after chilling in the refrigerator (this gives the flour time to absorb moisture and also firms up the oil a bit). Put the dough in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for an hour.
When ready to roll out the dough, flour your work surface and flour the surface of the dough. Roll out the dough to 1/8″ thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until browned on bottom. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating them.
Adapted from Toba Garret.
1 cup powdered sugar (4 oz.)
1 1/2 Tbsp. water (.75 oz.)
2 Tbl. corn syrup (1 oz.)
1/4 tsp. almond extract, optional
Food coloring, as desired
Combine powdered sugar and water to make a smooth mixture. Mix in the corn syrup to make a smooth, shiny icing that can be drizzled from a spoon. Can stir in almond extract, if desired. Can be made thinner with more corn syrup or thicker with more powdered sugar. Can be colored with food coloring or used white. Spread icing on cookies or dip the top of the cookies in icing and let the excess drip off. Let the cookies dry overnight before drawing on then with food coloring markers.