The quest for me is over...to find the perfect sugar cookie. To be honest, it wasn't really much of a quest....my own mother had the secret to lifelong happiness. Yeah, it wasn't even hidden away in a secret vault or written on ancient papyrus and tucked away in a chest under the enchanted oak trees in her backyard....it was in her recipe box. A bit of a let down, you might think but, to be completely honest, that worn little box holds many family secrets and interesting and unique conjurings and spells...AKA the family recipes that have been handed down for generations....
These cookies, like nothing else, mean it is Valentine's Day. I cannot have Valentine's Day ruined by store-bought sugar cookies when these are so easy and so good. Luckily I happen to have all the necessary ingredients on hand, pretty much all the time as they're pantry basics for me. And, the best part about this recipe is you don't have to chill the dough! This is good because whenever the mood strikes, you can bake up a batch of these in no time. I mean, you don't even have to make them just for V-Day!!
The other thing about them, is they're so easy, you make them by hand. You don't have to bust out your stand mixer...until frosting time. Nope. Cookies that are hand made. So gourmet and old fashioned of you!
VALENTINE'S NO CHILL SUGAR COOKIES
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
5 C. Flour (have more on hand for flouring your surface and I always need more to get my dough stiff enough and not be so sticky)
2 C. Sugar
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl.
1 C. Shortening
Cut this into the above flour mix by hand. I just mush the shortening around in the dry ingredients until there are no more large chunks. (It'll look a bit like pie dough). Make a well in the middle of your dough mixture. This is part of the charm of my mother's recipe...a well, you say? Just kind of dig out a bit of a dent in the middle.
3 Eggs, beaten
1 C. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
Combine the above ingredients together and then pour into the well in the dry ingredients
Gradually blend in flour mixture to the wet ingredients until all flour is incorporated. The dough is likely to be very sticky now, so this is the point where you have to make a judgement call and add additional flour until it is no longer sticky and won't stick to your floured surface when it is rolled out and cut.
Flour your kitchen counter liberally. Roll your dough to 1/8" - 1/4" thick. I err on the thin side, as they do puff up. Test if it is sticking at this point. If so, grab all the dough up and add more flour to the counter and knead the dough into it. Re-flour your counter top and roll out again. If your dough sticks at all to your counter top, the shapes you've cut will not come off cleanly and will not be as beautiful...oh they'll be tasty, but we're after looks too with these cookies.
Use heart-shaped cookie cutters in all sizes. It was a tradition in my family growing up that everyone got a large cookie with their name on it. That was so special and is something I do for my family now. Plus dozens of little cookies just for munching. But the big cookie was the big deal, and oh how it was savored.
Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Don't place too close, but don't worry either, these cookies don't really spread much. So you can get away with an inch between each of them.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. I find that the first couple batches take 10 minutes and then the subsequent batches take around 9 minutes. They should not be brown at all, but remain lily white, but not be gooey in the center at the same time. The bottoms should be lightly browned.
Allow to cool on paper towels or wire racks, completely.
Decorate with Frosting. YUM!
p.s. Once you have cut out your shapes, grab up all the scraps that are left, mush them back together and roll it out again so you can cut out even more cookies. This dough does not get tough. I cannot tell you how many times I have rolled and rolled again. Use it all up! The recipe does make...a lot of cookies!
|I may have had some little hands helping make these...but that's perfect, the dough is so much fun to play with and so smooth, the littles will be excited to help you make them...just don't expect perfectly shaped hearts as the end result.|
VANILLA BUTTER CREAM FROSTING
3 C. Powder Sugar
3/4 C. Butter, softened
Combine the above ingredients in the mixer until well mixed
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1-2 Tbl. Milk
Add to sugar mixture and beat until smooth and spreadable. Add red food coloring and mix well. Add dye until you get your desired shade of pink. Pipe or spread this on your cooled sugar cookies.
Daddy is a big deal at our house. Use a small tip and you can write out all the names of your family members...this is how they know which giant cookie is theirs!
Embellish as you like with dots and swirls...
You can also violate the sacred tradition of just sugar cookie and pink frosting and let the kids decorate with candy...I wouldn't recommend as...well, just because I'm a bit of a fuddy duddy and like it the way my Mommy did it.
This was my sister's idea...bad, bad sister!
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy these...delicious and easy sugar cookies!