Tis the season for cookies. It just is. I can't imagine the Christmas season without inhaling several dozen varieties of this sweet delight. Cookies are just about the perfect treat, too. They're little, but they have such a huge variety that you can never get bored with a cookie. One of my favorites is one of the simplest, sugar cookies. Soft and pillow-y, sweet but not too sweet (until you add the frosting) and comforting as can be. Plus they're dang fun because you get to cut them out using fun cookie cutters and decorate the heck out of them. They're a good time.
* You don't have to chill the dough before baking. This means when the need for sugar cookies arise, you can have some made in less than 30 minutes.
* They are so yummy!
* They're fun to decorate...I guess this is the case with any sugar cookie, but trust me, mine are the best.
* You don't have to get your giant mixer dirty. They're so easy, you make them by hand and don't even break a sweat. You do need your mixer for the frosting though....
|The size of cookie cutter I used for an entire batch and got 3 dozen cookies, cut at about 1/4" thick.|
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies, depending on thickness of dough and size of cookie cutters **see above picture**
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)
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 with my fingers until there are no large chunks left. Make a well in the middle of your dough mixture
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 the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until all flour is incorporated. The dough is likely to be very sticky now. I place the dough onto your very clean and liberally floured counter top and knead flour into it until it is no longer sticky and won't adhere to your surface when rolled out and cut.
Grab your rolling pin. Roll your dough to 1/8" - 1/4" thick. Test if it is sticking at this point. If it is excessively sticky, grab up all the dough and knead in some more flour. If it's just a bit tacky, pick up each corner of your dough and toss some more flour under it. 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.
Cut dough using your favorite cookie cutters. Re-use the scraps!! This dough is very forgiving and doesn't get tough. I have rolled and re-rolled my scraps many times and the results are delicious every single batch.
Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Don't get them too close to each other, but don't worry either, these cookies don't really spread much. So you can get away with an inch between.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. They should not be brown at all, but remain lily white on top and lightly golden underneath, but not gooey in the center.
Allow to cool on paper towels completely.
Decorate with Frosting. YUM!
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
3 C. Powder Sugar
3/4 C. Salted Butter, softened
Combine the above ingredients in the mixer until well mixed
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1-2 Tbl. Milk
Add to creamed mixture and beat until smooth and fluffy and spreadable. Add food coloring and mix well. Pipe or spread this on your cooled sugar cookies.
It's fun to personalize these cookies with names or just by tossing on as much frosting as you think acceptable in fun designs. This frosting is so good, please don't buy store-bought frosting any longer. This one is easy and delicious, but I would say use regular, salted butter as it lends a bit of complexity to what could be overly sweet if there was no salt in it.
Make these, everyone will thank you.
Thanks for reading!