Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent Activities: Sugar Cookies!!!!

Yesterday was cookie-baking day! It was a perfect rainy-weather day, with gusts and downpours. And so I made "Creamsicle" Sugar Cookies using my new fiori di sicilia from King Arthur Flour, an Italian vanilla-citrus extract used in panettone. Yum! The scent alone was fantastic. And they tasted good too.

And they looked great because Sis and Bud did Star Wars cut-outs using sets I bought from William-Sonoma. Yoda and Darth, X-Wings and Tie Fighters. Sure, not your usual Christmas cookie shapes; perhaps even better.

Until I burned the first batch. I haven't burned a tray of cookies in years. But with all the distractions, and perhaps rolling them too thin, it happened. Much to Sis's (and my) devastation. Luckily, we hadn't used the whole batch of dough and so we can make more today, when a little friend comes over for a drop-off playdate.

In searching for a cookie recipe to add my extract to, I realized I have several to choose from. Below are all the sugar cookies--cut-out, spritz, drop, brown--that I've made. We used Alton Brown's recipe, with a teaspoon of fiori di sicilia.


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Sugar Cookies (with Creamsicle Variation)

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Creamsicle variation: 1 scant teaspoon fiori di sicilia
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes.
Alton Brown
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Aunt J's Spritz Sugar Cookies

1 ¾ cups sugar
1 cup crisco, butter flavoring optional
2 eggs
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream sugar and crisco—add eggs and vanilla and butter flavoring. Add flour, etc. Press out. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes.

Icing

2 cups powdered sugar
milk to consistency
dash salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Rainbow sprinkles
Combine and then spread over warm cookies. Add sprinkles.

Aunt J

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Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

½ cup oleo

1 cup sugar

1 egg

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon vanilla

Cream together oleo, sugar, and egg. Add salt, baking powder, flour, and vanilla.

**My additions: divide dough into 2 balls, flatten, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Roll out ½ of 1 ball at a time, approximately ¼” thick. Tania suggests refrigerate the baking sheet or silpat as well. Cut cookies.

Bake at 400F for 8-10 minutes on greased cookie sheet. (let cool 4-5 minutes)

Miss T C


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No-Fail Sugar Cookies

Miss T loves and swears by this recipe. She usually cuts it in half. I made it all and froze half--the kids ate so much dough, we needed the whole batch for the party.

6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like
almond myself)
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below)

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges. This recipe
can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.

HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess – Rather than wait for your cookie dough to chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the
refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

**my note: this dough can be frozen in disks and thawed later.


http://kitchengifts.com/


T's Royal Icing
4 tablespoons merengue powder
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon shortening (to make it soft and shiny, optional)
1 teaspoon lemon extract
5 cups powdered sugar
colos

Mix ingredients. Add water if too thick. It should be the consistency of glue. Separate into bowls. Add colors with toothpicks. Stir with little spatulas.

T outlines with a #3 tip and then floods the inside when the outline dries (to make flooding consistency, add more water--really just a few drops). You can use a bag with tip or a spoon to flood, and toothpicks or decorating brushes to spread it into the cracks.

She recommends the following schedule:
Day 1--baking
Day 2--icing
Day 4--packaging (too soon and the icing will be damaged)
Because of the icing, the cookies will stay fresh for about a week.

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Brown Sugar Cookies

Dough:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Topping:
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
colored jimmies, colored nonpareils, finely chopped nuts, or other sugar decorations

To make the dough: In a large bowl, beat together the butter, egg yolk, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Mix in the flour. Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets (I needed three).

Break off teaspoonfuls of dough and form them into balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets and flatten to 1/4 inch thick with the bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar (it helps to moisten the glass the very first time. We also used colored sugar for fun, but won't top those with chocolate).

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until they're lightly browned. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

To make the topping: In a small bowl in the microwave, or in a small saucepan set over very low heat, melt the chocolate chips and butter together, stirring until smooth. Stir in the corn syrup.

When the cookies are cool, use a flat butter knife or small icing spatula to cover half of each cookie with the topping, so you're looking at a cookie that's half iced, half bare. The make small piles of whatever garnishes you use--it's fun to mix and match--and dip the chocolate-coated side into the decorations. Nonpareils and colored jimmies are fun. Toasted, finely chopped nuts are tasty. Refrigerate the cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet until the chocolate sets, about 1 hour.

The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion
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Mama Teacher's No-Roll Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
4 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
Colored Sugar

In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat sugars and butter on medium speed unti light and fluffy. Beat in oil, vanilla and eggs until well blended. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt until dough forms.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight for easier handling.

Heat oven to 375. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten each with a "cut-glass" tumbler dipped in colored sugar. Bake 5 - 8 minutes or until set.


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Frosted Cookie Cut-Outs

2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Add buttermilk alternating with flour mixture.

Chill for 2 hours. Roll out to 1/8" thick.

Bake at 375F for 14 minutes (which seems tooo hot and too long to me)

Icing

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons milk or cream
2-3 drops food coloring

Mix together.

adapted from Hannukah cookies recipes in Holiday Baking by Sara Perry
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Sugar Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cream the softened butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Add the egg and vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar. Blend the ingredients well.

Mix the dry ingredients in another mixing bowl. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture. Blend it well. You have dough!

Chil the dough for (at least) 15 minutes, and then rool and cut the dough. Place the dough on the greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Allow the baked cookies to cool before decorating or eating them.

Rose Dunnington, The Greatest Cookie Book Ever

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