January 05, 2007

Christmas Sweets!

Just look at these darling little cookies. Sanding sugar on top of colored icing makes these gems really sparkle.





I am still on the quest for the perfect sugar cookie. I want something thick, soft and very tender. These were my first test and while they were delicious, they weren't quite what I was searching for. The quest will continue next Christmas I suppose!

Soft Cutout Sugar Cookies

These are a great little cookie for the holidays. Not super soft by any means, but more tender than a lot of crispy sugar cookies.

2 3/4 cups ap flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, very soft
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in buttermilk, egg and extracts. With the mixer on low speed or by hand, add in the flour mixture, mixing until no flour remains.
Divide dough into two pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375F.

Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll out to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and use a floured cookie cutter to make desired shapes. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll remaining dough, chilling for a few minutes if it becomes too warm to handle easily. Repeat with second piece of dough.

Bake for 6-7 minutes at 375F, until the edges are slightly firm to the touch but cookies are not browned (The bottom of the cookies will be light brown).
Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Makes 4-5 dozen, depending on cookie cutter size.

Simple Colored Icing
4 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2 tbsp milk or light cream per bowl
1/2 tsp vanilla extract per bowl
white, red, green and blue food coloring

Place 1 cup of sugar in each of 4 small bowls. Add 2 tbsp milk or light cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla and a few drops of your desired food color to each bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork, until smooth and a good consistency: thin for filling in large spaces and thick for making clear lines. Add extra milk if necessary.
Scrape each color into a small zip-lock plastic bag.
Snip the corner of the bag to ice cookies.

Recipe from Bakingsheet