21 December 2008

Christmas Cut-Out Cookies

I survived my second-to-last semester of college! I busted my ass this semester and hopefully it'll pay off, but now it's time for me to relax and enjoy myself...which means lots of baking! My mom and I already have a lengthy holiday baking list that includes kifli and apple pie. I was itching to bake since arriving home on Thursday, so I wasted no time and dove into some cut-out cookies.
I have so
many memories of making sugar cookies with my mom when I was younger and I really have missed making them. I can't remember the last time we made some cut-outs and I knew I had to bring them back this year. As much as I enjoy a traditional sugar cookie, I wanted something different. I turned to my cookie book simply titled Cookies, which I purchased this summer but hadn't yet used. The recipe I selected was a sugar heart cut-out recipe, but different slightly from most sugar cookie recipes I've seen. I opted to add cinnamon to my cookies in order to add a little something extra and it was a great addition. The cinnamon adds a very faint flavor in the background and compliments these mild cookies quite well. The texture of the cookies is incredibly light and soft, which is exactly what I was looking for. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a go-to sugar cookie recipe!

Sugar Cookies
adapted from Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract [I used my vanilla bean paste]
1/4 cup half-and-half
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon [that's an estimate - I eyeballed it]

Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium until creamy. Add the vanilla and half-and-half; beat to combine. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating until just blended. Mix in the dry ingredients gradually, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Divide the dough in half. Press into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour
(overnight would be preferable).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll out one of the disks on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out the cookies and transfer to the prepared cookie sheets, placing them 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake until just golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool completely before frosting.

I wanted to find the perfect icing recipe, so I turned to allrecipes.com and found an awesome glaze. This glaze tends to set up between cookies, so make sure you stir it between uses. It dries hard enough for stacking cookies and stays vibrant and shiny after drying. I don't recommend using wax paper between the layers [only stack after completely dried!], as it tends to take away some of the color. Also, do not refrigerate after icing - this leads to condensation and it will ruin the icing.

Sugar Cookie Glaze

adapted from allrecipes.com

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar [add more if you'd like a thicker glaze]
2 tbsp light corn syrup
4 tbsp water
a splash of vanilla or almond extract will give the icing a little more "oomph" and I recommend that
food coloring of your liking

Mix 'em all up and go to town! I dipped a lot of mine, but if you make yours thick enough you can spread the icing. I also tried to do some piping but that was just a giant mess. You may be more successful with that than I was ;p


Amy said...

SO PRETTY!!! Hope you're having a fantastic time baking!

Anonymous said...

Those are so pretty!