It’s that time of year again–when the sugar seems to sparkle just a little brighter and every inch of office desk space becomes covered in colored icing and holiday spirit. Tonight I’ll be “dough-ing” and rolling in preparation for the my company’s annual Holiday Cookie Decorating Day! Not a huge fan of the sugar cookies taste-wise, but they sure do come out pretty when they’re all together.
W/G SUGAR COOKIE
Adapted from “The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook” (Oxmoor House, 2003.)
Soft cookie dough loses its shape when moved; to retain crisp cut edges, refrigerate dough until firm before baking.
Recipe makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; add dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated. With mixer running, add egg, brandy (or milk), and vanilla; mix until incorporated.
- Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes, and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between.
- Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
- Decorate with Royal Icing.
From The Joy of Baking
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
- In the bowl of your electric mixer (or if you’re low-budget like me, use a whisk and give those arms a workout!), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until combined. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat [on low speed] until combined and smooth.
Tips from The Joy of Baking: The right consistency to cover or “flood” sugar cookies is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface for a few seconds before disappearing. Another test is to take a cookie and place a small amount of icing in the center of the cookie. Using a small knife, push the icing to the edge of the cookie. If the icing runs off the edge, thicken the icing by adding a little more confectioners sugar. Conversely, if the icing is too thick, add a little water. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.
Add your food coloring to the icing and get ready to rock your world with sprinkles, sugar, and everything merry and bright. I’ll post pictures of the mess we make tomorrow, but in the meantime, feel free to send me your favorite holiday cookie recipes to try out! I have lots of parties that will be in need of some buttery baked goods.