Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Favorites: Sugar Cut Out Cookies

My family has made sugar cookie cut outs during the holidays for as long as I can remember. They are never the beautifully decorated ones that you see in magazines or bakeries, but more of the "loads of icing and as many sprinkles as you can get to stick" variety. They are made by giggling little children on a creativity and sugar induced high. Like most kids, for generations the ones in my family have had no idea of what "too much" is. There is no such thing as too much colored sugar on Santa's hat.

Check out this year's first batch. Aren't they beautiful?

My grandmother used a recipe that had been passed to her from her mother and this is the one my mom used. I have a secret. I don't like it. Yes, I know it is horrible to say that I do not like the cookies of my great grandmother. Honestly, until the past few years I have felt that the cookie was really just a vehicle to get the icing and sprinkles to my mouth. About 6 years ago I started testing out different sugar cookie recipes trying to find one that had some flavor without overpowering the icing. I tried Martha Stewart's recipe and used it for a couple of years. It had brandy in the dough, so how could it be anything but fantastic? Well, the cookie was just to crisp for me. I like cookies to be a bit soft and chewy, not really cracker like.

This year I think I may have found the recipe to pass to my kids- or at least a really close version of what I will turn it into. That splash of brandy in Martha Stewart's recipe may just have to find its way in.  So far I have used this recipe three times and it has been consistently a favorite. The recipe calls for a ton of butter, so the dough has to be chilled for at least an hour before you can roll it out. Definitely have extra flour on hand to help with sticking during the rolling process.

I found this on the Food Network website. It is a recipe from The Neely's and is really really good.

Shelbi's Butter Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sifted sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Sift together flour and salt into a bowl.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the butter and mix on medium-high until fluffy and light. Add the sugar and the eggs, 1 at a time, until and mix until combined. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour to the butter, sugar, egg mixture. Mix until batter looks smooth. Place dough onto a flowered cutting board and cut the dough into quarters, flatten and wrap with the plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With a rolling pin covered in flour, roll out dough quarters 1 at a time, on a floured work surface to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Use a variety of cutters to cut out cookies. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment and space cookies about 1 1/2-inches apart.

Bake cookies until they are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a using a spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool

1 comment:

Big Fat Gini said...

Reminds me of my Grandma's. I loved them! She used to put those silver edible beads on her stars and Christmas trees. I bet the kids had such a great time doing that, too!