aka Christmas CookiesPre-heat oven to 350°
I love to bake. One of my favorite things to bake is cookies and I have been baking these cookies forever. This is a really nice, fun recipe for a few reasons: it is a super easy recipe; I like to make these with my nieces and this year Becca and I made them when she visited in early December (made me so happy!) and I’ve made them twice since then; the cookies are fun to decorate – wildly fun!!; I love cookie cutters and I have ones for every holiday and some non-holiday ones too; you can make these cookies for so many occasions although mostly I make them around the Christmas holidays.
If you’re a friend or family member – or any recipient of my cookies in the past (or if you’re looking at this recipe and see the photo that I just took) - then you’ll understand why this year I decided that it was time to step-up my decorating technique a bit. I took a class on cookie decorating at the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories in Santa Monica (thegourmandiseschool.com) and it was totally fun.
I learned SO much! The only thing was that after tasting one of my beautifully frosted creations, Alex said that the cookies tasted like the ones we used to buy at Gelson’s and that he preferred the ones that we usually make. Enough said. Not wanting my creations to taste commercial, I immediately went back to my cookie recipe and my frosting recipe. The only thing is that my frosting recipe is apparently not adaptable to the squeeze bag technique that we used in the class with the ‘special frosting’ and I made a huge mess with my regular frosting when I tried putting it into the squeeze bags with the various sized metal tips.
You should have seen the mess. In fact that’s the photo that I should have taken for this post. . .. Needless to say, I went back to the ‘bagless technique’ that I have used forever; each little bowl with a different color frosting and I made my funny decorated ones – which EVERYONE loves and compliments – even when they are totally doofy looking.
Cut-Out Cookie Recipe
1 Cup sugar (I used organic which is a little coarser but it doesn’t matter)
1 Cup unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
3 Cups unbleached white flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Directions: In a mix-master or hand mixer or by hand even…. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Stir in the vanilla. Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and whisk together Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture The dough will be very very heavy and dense. Press it into a ball or into a couple of balls and put each ball onto a piece of saran wrap or parchment and flatten. Cover the flattened ball(s) and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out the dough to 1/8” thick (which is pretty thin). Cut with cutters. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Frost as appropriate!
Frosting: Dissolve 1 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 Tbsp hot water. Color the glaze with food coloring. Use Sprinkle sugar, etc etc while glaze is wet.
*Here’s a trick. After you make the dough, divide it into four or six pieces. Flour each piece well and roll out to 1/8” thick between two pieces of parchment. Using the cookie cutters, cut out the dough but don’t pick the uncooked cookies up off the parchment. Don’t put the cookies onto the baking sheet just yet. When you have the dough all cut-up into the shapes, slide the cookies on the parchment onto a cookie sheet and put it into the refrigerator to firm up. When firm, take out of the fridge and remove the top sheet of parchment and bake. Hope that made sense. It makes this easy recipe even easier.
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