Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Sugar Cookies


I was in charge of bringing in some spring themed cookies, to Bozo #2's classroom this week. We are also hosting Easter brunch at our house this Sunday. So, I decided to go all out & make some homemade sugar cookies. I picked up a cute set of Easter cookie cutters last year & never used them. Now, I got the chance. I loved the carrots, in particular.
Honestly, these do take some time. But, if you have kids, they are a great help. If you like painting, coloring, or glittering, then it will be a fun project for you. The dough couldn't be easier & yields perfect cookies every time. I've used it for my Christmas cookies for 2 years now & it never fails. The best thing about this dough, is that it can be made ahead of time & frozen. The cookies can also be baked off & frozen {before icing} & thawed at room temperature for an hour, or so.

Begin by whisking 3 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder & 1 teaspoon of salt together, in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs.

Add a 1/4 cup heavy cream & 2 teaspoons of vanilla. In the bowl of an electric mixture, fitted with the paddle attachment, blend 2 sticks of unsalted butter {softened}, 2/3 cups sugar & a 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Beat until light & fluffy.

Add in the egg mixture & beat until incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients, beat until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.

Dump the dough out & divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap & chill for at least 5 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners, or parchment paper. Cut one of the chilled discs of dough in half, wrap up the other half & return to the fridge. Roll the dough out, on a well-floured work surface to about an 1/8" thickness.

Flip the dough over frequently while rolling & flour both sides, as you work, to prevent sticking. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, spacing about a 1/2" apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes, on the pan, before transferring to a cooling rack.

To make the icing, sift 1 pound of powdered sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer.

Measure out 2 tablespoons of powdered egg whites & sift them into the sugar.

Attach the whisk attachment to the mixer. Add in a 1/3 cup of water & beat for about 4 minutes, or until the icing is thick & glossy.
To tint the icing, spoon small amounts of the icing into a bowl. Add food coloring, to achieve the desired color.

Keep the icing slightly thick, if using to pipe onto the cookies. Thin the icing slightly, by adding small amounts of water, to decorate by hand, either using a spoon, offset spatula, or small paintbrush. Keep the icing sealed in an airtight container, when not in use.
For mine, I painted on tinted icing, then using a spoon, I poured colored sanding sugar over the icing & tapped off the excess. India Tree makes amazing cookie decorations & sanding sugars.

You can also skip the icing, if desired & decorate with only sanding sugar. Simply, heat up a little light corn syrup & paint it onto the cookie, wherever you want sugar to stick.
Spoon over some sanding sugar & tap off the excess. You can could also use a combination of both techniques, as I did with the carrots.

The finished cookies can be stored in an airtight container for about a week.

Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Cuisine At Home: Holiday Cookies Issue
Makes 4 dozen 3" cookies

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk the flour, baking powder & salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter & both sugars to the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed, until light & fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the eggs, heavy cream & vanilla to the mixer & beat to combine.
Add half of the dry ingredients, beat until incorporated, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Dump the dough out & divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap & chill for at least 5 hours, or overnight. {The dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using}
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners, or parchment paper. Cut one of the chilled discs of dough in half, wrap up the other half & return to the fridge. Roll the dough out, on a well-floured work surface to about an 1/8" thickness. Flip the dough over frequently while rolling & flour both sides, as you work, to prevent sticking. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, spacing about a 1/2" apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes, on the pan, before transferring to a cooling rack.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Royal Icing

From Cuisine At Home: Holiday Cookies Issue
Makes about 2 cups

1 pound powdered sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons powdered egg whites, or meringue powder
food coloring {optional}

Sift the sugar & powdered egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the water & beat for about 4 minutes, or until the icing is thick & glossy. To tint the icing, spoon small amounts of the icing into a bowl. Add food coloring, to achieve the desired color. Keep the icing slightly thick, if using to pipe onto the cookies. Thin the icing slightly, by adding small amounts of water, to decorate by hand, either using a spoon, offset spatula, or small paintbrush. Keep the icing sealed in an airtight container, when not in use.
Click here for the printable recipe.

7 comments:

suzybananas said...

omg! those are beautiful... i can't believe i didn't get to try one!

M. said...

what a pretty cookies... :)

Olivia said...

super mom? wow those cookies look great!

kate said...

Liv~I try ;)
Have a great vacation!

MaryMoh said...

Wow....gorgeous! You must have a lot of fun making these!

Leslie said...

How do you find the time ... the cookies are awesome!
Loved your thank you note .... it's going in the party book.

Karen said...

These are the cutest cookies - love the carrots :)

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