Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cookies for Santa

One of the best parts about Christmas is all the yummy baked goods! I love baking and decorating sugar cookies. I think I would do it more often if it didn't take so much time (and make a BIG mess).

Katie came over on Saturday and we decorated lots of sugar cookies! I think we dirtied every bowl and spoon that I own. But it was so much fun and I love the finished result!

I used a Martha Stewart sugar cookie recipe and it turned out pretty well- not too much spreading. The recipe says to put the cookie sheet in the freezer after you have cut out the cookies- I did not do this. Who can wait that long??? I did refrigerate the dough for several hours before rolling it out and cutting.

Try it and let me know what works for you. You'll definitely want to leave a few of these for Santa!

Sugar Cookie Cutouts

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough into quarters; flatten each quarter into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 4-to-5-inch cookie cutter. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, and freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer, and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.

4. Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

I also used both royal icing and sugar cookie icing. The royal icing, which uses meringue powder, isn't quite as tasty, but is perfect for outlining.

After all our hard work decorating, we went to the Christmas light display at Chickasha (pronounced: chic- A- shay). We decided to take Ivy and Win with us, which was a little bit of a mistake. They went crazy- barking and growling at all the moving displays. They were hopping all over the car from my lap to Jeremy's to Katie's in the backseat.

Despite Ivy and Win all over the car, we had a great time seeing all the thousands of lights. It was a great way to start off the Christmas season! Cookies and lights!!!

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