Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sugar Cookies—Part 1

Okay…I like a shortcut when I can find one. I have this WONDERFUL sugar cookie recipe. It is simple to make and simple to work with. I clipped it out of a magazine about 10 years ago. So I was just going to hop on the handy dandy internet and find ya’ll a link. Just one big, fat problem. I did NOT clip it from Family Circle like I thought…oh no, I clipped it from McCall’s magazine…which is no longer published.
The great thing about this recipe is that it has 7 variations in addition to the basic recipe. So you can have plain ol’ sugar cookies OR you can make one of the variations: chocolate, spice, lemon, peanut butter, hazelnut, pistachio, or almond.
So today I’m going to give ya’ll the basic recipe…and I will try (I promise) to come back and give the variations when time allows.

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
In bowl, with mixer on medium, beat butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. On low, beat in flour and salt. Divide dough in half; shape each into 1/2-inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On floured surface, roll dough 1/8-inch thick; cut into shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheet(s). Bake 10 minutes or until lightly golden around edges. Let cool 5 minutes on sheet(s); transfer to racks to cool. Decorate.
Note: you can also sprinkle with colored sugar BEFORE baking if you are not decorating them with icing.
Store in airtight container, up to 2 weeks OR freeze, UNDECORATED, up to 3 months.

Okay…I will go ahead and give one variation…but only because it is the one I used to make my Thanksgiving cookies.


Spice Cookie Dough

Omit granulated sugar and substitute 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar and 1/4 cup molasses. Omit vanilla extract. Add 2 tsp. ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. each ground cloves, ginger and nutmeg to flour.

To decorate like this, you will need some Royal Icing. I use the recipe that comes with the meringue powder that you will need to make it. I tint some of it brown and use it to pipe around the edges of the cookies AND to do the dot detail on the tops of the acorns. (enlarge photo for a closer look) Tint the remaining icing in your desired colors; then add a LITTLE water to each to make it a glazing consistency. Decorating one cookie before moving on to the next….flood the cookie with your desired main color. I use a tablespoon to gently fill-in the piped edges. Then add your additional colors and swirl OR use a toothpick to drag additional colors to make the leaf veins or turkey feathers. Then allow to dry completely before storing. I apologize if this is not making sense. I didn’t have a blog last year when I made these…so it did not occur to me to take step-by-step pictures. But if you DO have questions, feel free to e-mail me! Also, I promise to take some additional photos IF I bake them this year.

Happy Baking!


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