Dec 4, 2009

20 Days of Cookies - Day 2

Day 2: Sugar Cookie Cutouts
I don't think we can let the holidays pass us by without the twinkle of sanding sugar and droplets of food dye. This recipe will surely give you such canvas for your artistry in baking to come alive. My "secret" to the most irresistible sugar cookies is using salted butter. Trust me on this. They're not the same with unsalted butter. And just like the previous chocolate "chip" cookie recipe, you must let this chill at least overnight before rolling out. I also swear by Tahitian vanilla for the icing. It's a vanilla that you wouldn't want to cook off the flavor so it's perfect for frostings.

1 3/4 cups AP flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
• In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.
• Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
• Preheat oven to 350 and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
• Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.)
• Cut out cookies using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.
• Bake cookies for about 10 minutes (depending on size) or until they begin to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 20 - 4 inch cookies.

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp Tahitian vanilla extract
Assorted sanding sugars, food dyes, etc.

Once cookies are cooled, delicately spread icing over all of surface. Use colored sanding sugars while icing still wet. Let sit overnight before storing or gift packaging. Separate with parchment paper. Best enjoyed when sitting by the fire with a chilled glass of milk!

(Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking)
(Photo credit: McCormick)

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