Thursday, December 11, 2014

North Star sugar cookies . . . and a nativity scene

I am so excited to share this cookie project with you!

It was inspired by my desire to remind our children through this holiday season why we celebrate Christmas.

It's so easy to get caught up in the "I want . . . " this time of year, and forget that we need to spend these weeks and days leading up to Christmas preparing for the coming of Christ.

During this time of Advent, I enjoy reading books about the meaning of Christmas to our children . . . as well as engaging in other enjoyable activities like cookie decorating, holiday crafts, and baking.


I enjoyed sharing with them about the Star of Bethlehem, also known as the North Star and Christmas Star . . . and its significance to the Three Wise Men, or Magi, and the birth of Christ.

Although they are familiar with the story already, it was through an activity like this one that allowed me to share the beautiful story of Christmas again with our children.

Did you notice that I suspended one of the cookies from a string above the nativity?

I think it gives this well-known scene a visual exclamation mark . . . and I love that!

Here's how I did it . . . Using a large pin, I poked a hole into the top of the cookie and strung fishing line through it. I then secured it to a bare branch. The weight of the cookie gently tugged on the branch, which I positioned over the nativity.

This cookie-inspired nativity turned out better than I had imagined!

Although you don't see The Three Wise Men in the photo, they weren't too far away; each of my little ones was holding one of them while I took these photos. 

Although I created this serene scene for, and with, my children . . . I think that it would be a beautiful scene for any holiday gathering. You can individually wrap/bag the cookies and invite guests to take one home . . . and then they, too, can take home a small piece of the Christmas story.

sugar cookies
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons (1 ½  sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
 powder sugar (instead of flour) for rolling out dough
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    

To make the cookies, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt . . . set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and egg. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix until just combined.

Form the dough into a flattened ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or as long as overnight.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

On a lightly floured powder sugar surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart, and bake until just golden around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cookies from the pans and let cool completely.

Makes 60 3-inch North Star cookies.

I bought the North Star cookie cutter from here.

Sugar Cookie GLAZE
2 ¼  cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

Combine ingredients and mix until smooth
Using a small paint brush (or the tip of your finger), spread on top of cookies
Sprinkle sanding sugar on top of GLAZE when it's wet

The secret to a 'clean' sugar edge is not letting the glaze drip down the sides of the cookie.
A thick glaze is also key.
After the glaze has been mixed, add 1 Tablespoon of confectioners' sugar at a time, 
until you get the desired consistency.

LET'S STAY in touch!
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Thank you for stopping by!
I love reading your comments and appreciate them so much!


  1. These are so beautiful. I love the star hanging over the manger. We're going to make cutouts this weekend. It's one of my favorite traditions!

  2. I can not get over how beautiful this is! I absolutely love the whole thing! LOVE the hanging cookie, and the chance for you to share with your children about the birth of Jesus while baking! So, So heartwarming! You are truly gifted Suzanne! All month long I am featuring different holiday cookie creations for my cookie countdown to Christmas! I would love it if you stopped by to check it out! :-)

  3. What kind of sugar do you use to dust the cookies with? They turned out beautiful.

  4. Oh Suzanne... this scene and the cookies are wonderful. Talk about creating Christmas memories with vignettes. Your children will not forget this. How wonderful to be able to use this activity to go over the Christmas story again. Just today I was reading about how we can easily get a ho-hum attitude toward the "story" because we know it. I don't want to ever get like that. Instead I want to be in awe and want to love reading and hearing it over and over again. You blessed me with this post. [[hugs]]

  5. These sugar cookies look awesome. I love this star design, it is incredibly pretty.

    Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday at Smart Party Planning.

  6. I'm a tad behind in my blog visits but I must say this one came to me at the perfect time. Today, as I reviewed my to-do list I felt frazzled and way behind of the expectations I have set for myself this season. It is so easy to get caught up in baking, shopping and decorating. So much that we lose sight of the reason for the season and forget to slow down and just enjoy it. Thank you for sharing these beautiful cookies and for the reminder!

  7. I just love everything about this! The beautiful cookie shape, the greenery, how every element is simple but so rich together. I love your description of the suspended star being an exclamation point-those are the perfect words! That simple touch adds so much to the scene. What a great way to reflect on the Christmas story with your children.

  8. Yes! A fun way to remind the kids that Christmas isn't Santa. Love how you hung the cookie over the nativity. Thanks for linking to Show Me Saturday.

  9. This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing a new way to involve my kids in remembering the Christmas story. Where did you find the north star cookie cutter?

  10. North star cookies! yes I love these so much. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite things blog hop. Please tell me you shared these on the cookie swap linky xo

  11. Anonymous11:54 AM

    How wonderful Suzanne! Working in a coffee shop I noticed over the festive period so many people getting lost with spending money and buying things, like coffee that were unnecessary. I don't know why people didn't stay at home spending quality time together as I would do with my boyfriend had I not been working. Your nativity scene is a lovely reminder and important aspect of Christmas. This has been featured as one of my favourites over at Sweet and Savoury Sunday. I'm opening the link party early this week to make up for missing last weeks, so be sure to stop by and link up at the earlier time of Saturday 8am UK time. Happy New Year! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

  12. What a great way to share the story of Christ's birth with your children, and include a sweet treat. My kids would have payed way more attention if I had cookies to tie into the story. Brilliant! Those cookies look delicious, by the way. Thanks for sharing with us at On Display Thursday!
    -Leia @ Eat It & Say Yum


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