Christmas2007002

Sweet for the Holidays

I am always thinking of new ways to create fun family traditions with my girls. Of course there’s the usual delights like movies, shopping, tree decorating – all totally cool but not quite the treat I was going for. Naturally, I wanted something sweet! The ideal fun fix that came to mind was sugar cookies. Nestled somewhere between a cake, a cookie and pie dough, these little treats are forgiving to the playful and creative hands of a child. Armed with this little tidbit I set out to bake these darling treats with my daughters using this delightful recipe I found in Woman’s Day magazine a few years ago. I modified the recipe ever so slightly. Create your own holiday tradition with these lovely sweets….most importantly get the kids involved and have a jolly time!

1 stick butter (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

Icing:
1 lb. confectioner’s sugar (divided in half)
3/4 cup water
almond extract (optional)
food coloring or food coloring gel – your favorite colors of course

Equipment:
Your favorite cookie cutters
wax paper
parchment paper or non-stick foil
cookie sheet
icing bags or pastry bags
Decorating writing tips

Best butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.Beat in egg until blended, add vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Gradually, add flour and beat until smooth. Shape dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick foil. Roll out dough between 2 sheets wax paper to 3/8 in thickness. Cut out shapes.
Tip: Remove excess dough from around shapes leaving the cut out cookies on wax paper. To maintain cookie shape, place the cut shapes on wax paper in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and you’ll be able to easily peel the cookies off the wax paper and transfer to the cookie sheet!

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or unit cookies are golden brown at edges. Cool on sheet on wire rack 5 minutes; transfer to wire rack and cook completely. Roll, cut and bake remaining coolies.
Tip: Adjust time based on your oven.

Decorating Icing
Base:
Beat 1/2 confectioners sugar and 1/2 cup water in large on low speed for about 5 minutes until icing is smooth. Should be smooth enough to pour, similar consistency to heavy cream or buttermilk.

Decorations:
Beat 1/2 confectioners sugar and 1/4 cup water in large on low speed for about 5 minutes until icing is thick and white. Divide and add your coloring.

Set up a wire rack with a sheet of wax paper underneath. Place cookies on wire rack and pour Base icning over the cookies. Allow to dry until firm. Transfer Decorations icing to pastry bags (separated by color) fitted with writing tips. Grab a bag, give the kids a bag and have FUN decorating!