Friday, December 18, 2009

Snowflake Sugar Cookies

It has been a baking extravaganza around here the last couple of days. So much so yesterday that I didn't get a chance to post anything. I gave away gift bags of a variety of goodies to all of my coworkers today.

I find a lot of sugar cookie recipes can be pretty bland and have a poor texture. This one is easy to work with, has a great texture and is delicious! The trick is not over baking them. My first batch usually comes out well but if I get anxious and try to bake the second batch when the sheets are still hot I will often get them a little on the brown side. In my opinion if these are brown at all they are overdone.

Sugar Cookies
makes 3 dozen medium sized cookies

2 sticks (16 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 t pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for work surface)
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t kosher salt

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of and electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla. reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. The dough will be stiff.

Shape the dough into a flat 1" thick disk. Refrigerate, wrapped, for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/4" thick. Cut into shapes and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheets.

Royal Icing:
makes 1 cup (enough for 2-4 dozen cookies)

2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 large egg white (or equivalent amount of dried egg whites if you don't want to eat uncooked egg whites)
1/2 t lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, egg white and lemon juice. Add water 1/2 t at a time (stirring well between additions) until it reaches the desired consistency. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

If you want to decorate your cookies like the ones I made start with a thicker icing that you can pipe around all of the edges of the cookies. When that hardens dilute the remainder of the icing and flood the cookies. When that hardens you can pipe a contrasting color over the top, again with a thicker icing. There are really great step by step photos and beautiful cookies here.

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Twila said...

Your decorations are amazing -- are you thinking of taking up baking as a second job? Love you!