Hello to 2012 Sugar Cookies

I would have posted this as “my unfinished holiday cookies”, but I got some free time yesterday and decided to not procrastinate anymore.  The sugar cookies held up really well and the basic recipe that comes with each Ann Clark Cookie Cutter is one perfect recipe.  Few ingredients and that cup of butter just screams “oh-my-goodness!”.  I’ve never done any rolled cookies, and was happy with drop cookies until Ann Clark Ltd. sent me 3 cookie cutters to entice me to do some cookie decorating.  The cookie cutters shapes I got (the butterfly, the ice cream cone, and the sun) sliced through the cookie dough cleanly and sharply…now that really inspired me to move on to the next step which is decorating.   Well, I tried to complete the project  before Christmas, before CPRTV’s pink brunch, before Glenn sister’s Christmas dinner…but the holiday marathon baking just prevented me from even deciding on what to use as icing.  Should I go with buttercream, or sugar glaze or royal icing.  I chose the last….and of course, with meringue powder instead of fresh egg whites.  Wouldn’t want problems for kids who’d be enjoying these cookies.

Thanks again to Ann Clark, Ltd. (and also to Susan Harrison) for these wonderful cookie cutters.  And Ann Clark makes a number of great shapes like ghost, bat, haunted house, cat, pumpkin,  apple, football, football helmet, maple leaf, oak leaf, pink ribbon, school bus, turkey and others.  You can see the entire line of cookie cutters at http://www.annclark.com/category/traditional-cookie-cutters/a.

Sugar Cookies

Cream together:
1 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar

Beat in:
1 egg

Add:
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. sifted flour

Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Chill dough 3-4 hours before rolling (I’d start rolling next time after 2 hours though).

Preheat oven to 350º. Roll out 1/4” thick and cut. Bake about 8-10 minutes or until barely colored. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks.

Cookies can be frosted and decorated or eaten just plain.

Frosting

3/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1 Tb. butter
1 Tb. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. lemon juice

Melt butter, combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.  Add food coloring if desired.  Yield 1/3 cup

Royal Icing with Meringue Powder

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons meringue powder
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) water

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, starting on low speed.  Increase to medium speed  and beat until mixture is stiff and glossy, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add more powdered sugar, if necessary, to obtain “piping” consistency, about 1/2 cup more.  Cover icing with a damp cloth.

Tips:

1) Roll cookie dough using plastic food wrap sheets

2) Don’t skip on sifting powdered sugar; this prevents any lumps clogging on decorating tips

3) To use icing to cover large surfaces of the cookie or “flooding”, add water, a teaspoon at a time

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