Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sugar Cookies

I saw an idea for fall colored sugar cookie leaves on Pinterest and knew for sure I would be trying it out.  I was a little disappointed that there was no actual cookie recipe included so I went on a hunt for the very best sugar cookie recipe.  I have tried some in the past but have never really found a favorite.  I hunted online and asked around and when the one I found was the one that a friend also tried and loved, I decided it was the one (thank you, Alicia)!  Here is a link to the original recipe I used.  I cut it in half because I wasn't brave enough to try it all at once and have it be a fail so I will list below what I did.  I was impressed with these and will definitely use this recipe again.  You can make these cookies colored or plain (both are outlined below).

  • 3/4 cup butter softened (take it out earlier in the day so it softens on it's own)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  • Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

 ** At this point you need to decide if you are making colored dough 
or plain dough.  I say "at this point" because I honestly had not 
decided until I got to this point either! **

If you are going to make colored dough....
  • Flour your hands and the surface you are working on (my dough was really sticky so flour is a must).
  • Split the dough into four equal sections.
  • Add drops of food coloring to each section (I used red, orange (red+yellow), yellow, and green).  I would suggest making four balls and then putting a thumbprint hole in the middle of each one to hold the food coloring.  I found this was the best way to minimize stains on my hands and food coloring dripping all over the place.  It took about 8 drops to get the dough as bright as I wanted it.
  • Put the colored balls in the fridge for one hour.
  • Take them out of the fridge, put pieces of different colors together like a patchwork quilt and roll flat to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Use a floured surface for this.  I'm a huge fan of my pastry cloth and rolling pin cover (thank you, April!) and highly recommend this little invention if you don't have one already!  
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 5-6 minutes and remove to cool on wire rack.  Be careful not to overcook.  5 minutes was almost too much and next time I will lower the oven temperature.  You do not want them to be brown.

If you are not going to make colored dough....

  • Cover the dough you made and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  • Take dough out of the fridge, and roll flat to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Use a floured surface for this.  (see above for my pastry cloth shout out)                       
  • Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 5-6 minutes and remove to cool on wire rack.  (see above for my time and overcooking disclaimer)

Mix the following together in a bowl and spread over cooled cookies.  If the consistency is off, just add more milk to make it thinner or more sugar to make it thicker.
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • few drops of vanilla (I have no idea how much, just a little, I hardly ever measure!)

I had originally planned that this would be a Mommy-toddler activity but then decided that since I didn't really know how it was going to turn out, I would have it be a Mommy only activity with the exception of the decorating.  I'm glad I made that decision because rolled sugar cookies really aren't an instant gratification kind of cookie and my two year old would have never tolerated the fact that the dough had to sit in the fridge for an hour halfway through or that it was so sticky that I wouldn't have let her touch it.  Saving the decorating for her was a fantastic plan!  She had a blast painting on the icing and sprinkling on the decorations.  She only ate a few cookies along the way... double and tripled dipped in icing after the first lick, of course.  And then, for the grand finale, while I was putting the finished cookies away she mixed all the sugar decorations into the icing... YUM!  (never turn your back on a two year old!!)

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