Sugar cookies are great all year long, but especially during the holidays. Baking cookies during the holidays is one of my family’s favorite traditions. My sugar cookie recipe is famous in our house. We cannot keep them around because they’re eaten as quickly as they’re made. I’m sharing my secrets, and giving some ideas for extra special touches.
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup shortening
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 dash salt
Beat the 1/3 cup butter with the 1/3 cup shortening with an electric mixer for thirty seconds. Add 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, one egg, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 dash of salt. Beat on medium speed until completely mixed. Add 1 cup flour and beat until that is completely mixed in. Cover and refrigerate for three to twenty-four hours.
Divide the chilled dough in half. Lightly flour the working surface and rolling pin. Roll out one half of the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Lightly flour cookie cutters and cut into the rolled dough into shapes. For best results, lightly flour cookie cutters between each cut.
Apply a very light coating of cooking spray to your cookie sheets. Place shapes on cookie sheets, 1/2 inch apart. You may sprinkle with colored sugar crystals, sugar or cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees for seven to eight minutes. The cookies are done when the edges of the cookie is firm and the bottom is lightly browned.
Place cookies on a wire rack to cool.
While the first cookies are baking, work the dough back into a ball and roll again to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Continue this process until both halves of dough have been rolled and cut.
Options for Decorating
1. Frost cookies with a powdered sugar frosting.
First, make a powdered sugar frosting.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
In a small bowl, add one tablespoon milk to one cup powdered sugar. Beat well. Use immediately for drizzling consistency. Refrigerate for thirty minutes for spreading consistency.
Spread refrigerated frosting on cooled sugar cookies, then sprinkle sugared candies or color sugar crystals on top.
2. Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
First, make a batch of homemade butter frosting.
1/3 cup butter or margarine
4 ½ cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
food coloring (if desired)
With an electric mixer, beat 1/3 cup butter until fluffy. Slowly add two cups powdered sugar until combined thoroughly.
With the electric mixer on low, beat in 1/4 cup milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Once that has mixed well, slowly add the two and one-half cups powdered sugar until spreading consistency. It may be necessary to add an additional teaspoon to tablespoon of milk to get the correct consistency. Add any additional milk one teaspoon at a time.
Before removing the electric mixer, beat in any food coloring you may wish to use.