Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sugar Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's not too late to whip up something sweet for the sweeties in your life. And since February is celebrated as the month of love, I think it's even appropriate to treat your lovies to these decorated sugar cookies all month long.

My mom, sisters, and I have followed this sugar cookie recipe for years. Some recipes just shouldn't be altered, and this is one of them. Making them reminds me of being at home with my family and spending the entire day in the kitchen. And wearing pajamas.

Chocolate may have a spot on my personal food pyramid, but sometimes a sweet, buttery sugar cookie is the most perfect dessert.

Sugar Cookies
recipe from Betty Crocker

1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1 egg
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
Granulated sugar or colored sugar

Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and egg in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half to roughly 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. If you are not going to frost them, sprinkle with granulated or colored sugar. Place on cookie sheet. Do not overcrowd the sheet. For these hearts, I only cooked 6-7 cookies at a time.

Bake for 7-8 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Royal Icing
recipe from Joy of Baking
2 egg whites
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
2 tsp. lemon juice (optional)

Beat egg whites and lemon juice in electric mixer until combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until for about 5-7 minutes. Add vanilla or almond flavoring if desired. If the icing needs to be thinned out, you can add water. If it needs to be thickened, add more powdered sugar. When you lift the head of your electric mixer, the ribbon of the icing that drips back into the bowl should remain for a few seconds before disappearing. Use icing immediately or cover in an airtight container until ready for frosting.

To frost, color icing with food coloring and apply using a pastry bag with a fine tip or a ziploc bag with a tiny snip off the end.

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