Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sugar Cookies

What epitomizes cookies more than one shaped with a cutter and decorated with icing? I try to make these for every holiday, as they are my boyfriend's favorites (and he is a VERY picky eater, so once I find a recipe he likes I stick to it!)

In my quest to find the best rolled sugar cookie, I've experimented with many different recipes. I have found the absolute best is Neil's Scalloped Sugar Cookies, from Carole Walter's Great Cookies. They're super easy, delicious, made from ingredients you always have on hand, and don't puff up at all in the oven and ruin the cutter shape.

The other benefit to these cookies that they freeze & travel really well, and they also last about 3 weeks (stored airtight)- another reason they're great to make for the boyfriend- he's at school in Michigan!

This particular batch is going in my Christmas cookie tins. Every year, I obsessively plan the most efficient way to decorate these. That involves limiting myself to a minimum of shapes and colors. This year, as you can see from the picture, I went with snowmen and stockings. I'm going to use white, red, and green as my main colors, with black as an accent on the snowman. But my completely anal decorating method will be posted when I decorate them. Right now, they're being frozen away and will be pulled out closer to Christmas.

So, if you plan on making some Christmas cookies soon I highly recommend these. The recipe as I use it is as follows:
Neil's Scalloped Sugar Cookies
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2/3 cup (1 and 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 or 2 tsp cold water as needed
Combine flour, sugar, butter in bowl of food processor, fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to combine, then process for approximately 10 seconds, until the mixture is the texture of fine meal (it will look crumbly and not much like dough).
Combine the yolks and vanilla in a bowl, and add to the processor's work bowl. Pulse to combine, and then process for about 10 seconds until a mass forms. If it looks very dry, add a tsp of water. Empty the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disk. It will seem rather dry and crumbly. Don't worry.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days.
To bake: Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with foil.
Working with 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll out on floured surface until about 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick. Using your cookie cutters, cut into your desired shapes.
Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
**If you don't plan to decorate these, you can brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. I've never done that though, I always decorate with royal icing!
Difficulty Rating: 1

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