Christmas isn't complete without some festive sugar cookies! You can get crazy with the decoration or keep it classy, whichever way you choose, throw 'em in a treat bag and send them off to a loved one and make their day!
This year I tried the sugar cookie recipe A Beautiful Mess posted. It looked super-easy, which is my kind of cookie. I've got a few extra tips for 'ya to make the process EVEN EASIER that I will add throughout the post.
INGREDIENTS (COOKIES) /
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 cup powered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour*
1 tsp. salt
*To make chocolate sugar cookies simply replace ¼ cup of the flour with ¼ cup cocoa instead.
1 / Cream together the butter and sugar.
2 / Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until just combined.
3 / Stir in the flour and salt until dough forms.
TIP 1 : You can get in there with your hands to get it to form. Really get in there, the mixer did me no good!
4 / Form a ball from the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (or over night).
TIP 2 : Divide the dough into 4 parts and wrap them all separately. It is extremely difficult to roll out a huge hunk-o-dough. You'll thank me. I had to divide it even further because of my limited counter space.
TIP 3: The dough will be reallllllllly hard when you remove it from the fridge, let the dough sit out for a few minutes to start to come to room temperature, but not warm. Start working the section of dough you want with your hands before you have at it with the rolling pin. If you start rolling and it is crumbling apart, it will be a b*tch to roll out and you will get frustrated (I DID!) so be patient with it and make sure it is the proper consistency when you start rolling.
5 / Lightly flour your counter top and roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thinkness.
TIP 4 : Flour the rolling pin as well. Flour is the key to the kingdom here kiddies, so don't be shy. Yes, the counter should be just lightly floured, but flour as necessary. You should lift and move the dough around as you roll it out to roll it evenly. If you can't lift and move it the surface should have more flour on it. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin in the process and pulls up, the pin needs more flour. FLOUR POWER!
TIP 5 : This recipe makes a ton of cookies. It says 2 dozen, but I made a bunch of smaller shapes so it made more. I unfortunately only have 1 good cookie pan. After you roll and cut one section of dough, but 'em babies in the oven and keep rolling and putting and place the additional cookie cut outs on a piece of floured parchment paper to the side. The cookies only take 8-10 minutes to bake so by the time you are done with the next dough batch you can transfer the cooked cookies to a wire cooling rack and put the next batch in. I didn't even wait for the cookie pan to cool, I just plopped 'em on and popped 'em in. This will make things move very quickly.
7 / Remove from oven and move to a cooling rack.
INGREDIENTS (ROYAL ICING) /
4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tbsp. meringue powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup (possibly a bit more) warm water
(if you prefer an icing with egg whites use the other one in this post)
* This recipe made enough icing for 2 full batches of cookies (I made both standard and cocoa cookies)
1 / In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the confectioners' sugar and meringue powder until combined.
2 / Slowly add the water and beat on medium to high speed until very glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more powdered sugar or water.
3 / Ice away!
TIP 6 : The ladies of A Beautiful Mess say in order to not flood the cookie you have to outline the shape in buttercream, but I disagree! These cookies are supposed to be easy, who wants to make ANOTHER element, not I! Make the royal icing and let it sit for about 1-2 minutes (the air hardens the icing very quickly) and fill a piping bag. Test the consistency of the icing on a piece of parchment or a reject cookie, if it doesn't hold then either add more sugar or let it sit a bit more. I don't use a tip, I just snip a tiny piece of the piping bag off for a small opening. Carefully outline the shape you want to fill, staying a bit away from the edge of the cookie as pictured above. By the time you get through all of the cookies, the ones you did first will have hardened and then you can use the piping bag to fill the shape and the original outline will act as a barrier to prevent the icing from spilling over!
You can use gel coloring to color the icing too, just add small amounts of coloring to small batches of icing. Don't forget to add any sprinkles or sugar or any decore while the icing is stil soft, remember it hardens quickly!
COOKIE BAKING COMPLETE! I kept it classy with these and when I package 'em all up I'll share the pics with you.
I'd love to see what cookies you made this year! Throw me a tweet @128johnst with #SantasSnack with your images.