Weekends are great. For two straight days every week we finally have time to get dirty in the garden, see that latest movie, go to the park and play with the kids (for those of you who have kids), take your MTB on a challenging dirt track, max out your card in the mall, or just simply bask in the sun on a short trip to the beach. Me, I prefer to stay indoors surfing the net and spending a couple of hours (or more!) on computer games. But my number 1 reason for staying indoors during the weekends– BAKING.
It’s during the weekends that I take out my cookbooks and search through my favorite foodie websites for something new to try. And this week, I found something just in time for the holiday season– Frosted Sugar Cookies. Earlier this week I browsed through the website AllRecipes.com looking for my favorite carrot cake recipe (again, I have a problem with keeping track of recipes), and as luck would have it, I chanced upon an icing recipe for decorating cookies advertised on the sidebar. I have always wanted to try iced cookies so I took this as a sign.
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies
- 3/4 cups butter, softened
- 1 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
You will notice that I only made half the recipe as indicated in AllRecipes.com. As a rule for trying out new recipes, I never make too big a batch, just enough for practice and execution. This recipe yielded 40 cookies. Also for first timers, you might be surprised that the cookie dough is too soft and moist after getting all your ingredients together. This is fine. Before rolling the dough, make sure it is properly chilled, and DO NOT attempt to roll the whole thing out at one time. Take part of the dough, about the size of your fist, for rolling and leave the rest in the fridge. Be quick about it because letting it go to room temperature will make it nearly impossible to roll out.
If you have a kitchen like ours which has no ready space for rolling out dough, I advise having a silicon mat. I use mine whenever I need a surface for rolling out or kneading dough. Use plenty of flour as it is easy for this dough to stick to your surface. Use flour on your cookie cutters as well.
Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack before you even think about icing them. Aside from the icing, think of other things you can decorate the cookies with. In my supplies I have colored decorating sugar, silver dragees (little spheres made of sugar) and cake decorating pens (red, blue, green and yellow). You can find these easily in baking supply stores. The most common brand is Wilton.
Sugar Cookie Icing
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3 teaspoons milk
- 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- assorted food coloring
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
Divide into separate bowls, and add food colors to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.
I modified the recipe by adding an extra teaspoon of milk so I can get a nice spreading consistency. I also used vanilla to flavor my icing instead of almond extract, doubling the amount as well because I love vanilla. This recipe was enough to ice all my cookies but that depends on how thickly you want to coat your cookies. I also split the batch into three, adding 3 drops of red food color to one part, 2 drops of yellow to another, and leaving the third white.
I managed not only to decorate the cookies, but also to bond with our Domestic Supreme Leader, a.k.a., my Mom. We had a mini contest to see who could make the cutest cookies (yes, I used the word “cutest”), and since this is my blog, I will say I won. You can design the cookies whichever way you like depending on the occasion. The one above will be good for Valentine’s, but most of what we made are for Christmas. The icing will be set by 30 minutes, but I recommend letting it dry overnight.
Now that my weekend cookie project is done with, I guess it’s time for me to hit the road, see a movie, and maybe even shop a little. Tomorrow, the countdown begins again to another weekend baking project.