Sugar Cookies~ Sweet and Delicious
You Can Make Homemade Cookies Like This!
When I was a girl, I spent a lot of time learning how to bake. Although I learned how to bake lots of different kinds of sweets, I always come back to cookies. For this recipe today, I am sharing a handed down recipe from my great-grandmother. With this recipe, you have the luxury to bake the thick and chewy cookies or to make them thick and crisp. I tend to like some of each.
There is just something about a homemade sugar cookie that makes me smile, might be the colored sugars that sparkle or perhaps the sweet smell, but I tend to think that I am drawn to a sugar cookie because I know the love and time it took to make these. If you have never made sugar cookies before, I would like to say, make sure to set aside a few hours for this because after they've chilled, you will spend time rolling them out, baking them and later on frosting them.
Did you know that the sugar cookie was invented as early as the 1700;s? In Pennsylvania, German Protestants created the round, sugary cookie. Because they were in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, the cookie came to be known as a Nazareth cookie. It even became the state cookie!
Later on, America developed a love for sugar cookies and the tradition of leaving milk and iced sugar cookies for Santa began sometime around 1930. Aside from Christmas, the sugar cookie is perfect for almost any occasion. Later on, I will discuss cookie cutters.
Here's What You Will Need:
Here are the Ingredients Needed
- 1 cup Butter
- 1 1/2 cups Sugar
- 2 1/2 cups Flour
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
Cream Together Butter and Sugar
- Start with a large bowl, unwrap the butter and let it warm at room temperature for a little while. Once the 1 cup of butter is softened, you can begin by stirring in the sugar. The photo above shows you the consistency of the creamed butter and sugar. Next, you will add the egg, baking soda, cream of tartar, vanilla, almond extract, Mix these things all together, then slowly begin to add in the flour. It will begin to be difficult to stir but continue to mix in as much as you can. If you cannot get the full 2 1/2 cups of flour in, never fear, because when later more flour can potentially be added in. The picture below shows what we will do next, divide the dough in half and shape into a ball. Wrap in wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
Divide the dough in half, shape into a ball and wrap in wax paper and chill for 2 hours
Choosing the Cookie Cutters
As you can see in the picture below, I have a LOT of cookie cutters! Do you remember me saying earlier how I LOVE to bake cookies?! Well, in theme with this passion, I have cookie cutter collections as well as cookie jar collections!
I am here to tell you sugar cookies are NOT just for Christmas! Be creative, they can be great for many, many occasions! Some of the other holidays are perfect opportunities to bake, like Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween etc. Your limits do not stop there, depending upon the types of cookie cutters you find on your adventures, you can make cookies for birthday parties, summer parties, zoo parties and the list goes on and on and ON!
I have found cookie cutters on line and in antique stores. There are really cool shapes to be found nowadays! For our purpose today, I went with a spring theme because winter is growing weary on me!
There are many different types of cookie cutters you can buy, the colorful plastic ones, copper shapes which are very sturdy and heavy and tin. I own all three types.
Choosing the cookie cutters
2 Hours Later...
Once your dough has chilled for 2 hours, clear a counter top surface you will be using to roll out the cookies. They sell plastic mats for cookie rolling but I tend to use a clean and dry counter top. Place 1 cup of flour in a dish and spread a little of it onto the counter. Also, flour your rolling pin.
You will take one of the dough balls and begin to roll it out in the floured counter. If you are looking to have a thick and soft cookie, leave the dough on the counter thicker. Please note, if you leave these cookies too thick, when they begin baking you will notice they lose their shape because they are TOO thick and spread out too much, so be careful not to leave the dough too thick and for the opposite effect, roll the dough thinner.
By now you have already selected your cookies cutters. Dip the cutter into the flour reserve on the counter and begin cutting out the cookies. I tend to notice that the metal cutters pull the cookie up when retracted from the dough. In this case, you can transfer the cookie straight to the UNGREASED cookie sheet. Continue on until all of the cookies have been placed on the sheet. You will re-roll the dough until you have made all the cookies.
Roll out the dough onto a floured counter top, use a floured, wooden rolling pin. Then lightly flour the cookie cutters and begin cutting out the cookies!
Bake for 7-8 Minutes
Once you have a sheet full of cut out cookies, place them in your preheated 350 degree oven. I like to use a kitchen timer and set it for 7 minutes. I check the cookies when the time is up and decide if they are done or need another minute or 2. Prepare the "cooling" area but using wire cooking racks or by putting down brown paper with a layer of wax paper on top. Both of these methods will cool the cookies quite nicely.
Continue the process of rolling, cutting and baking until you are done making all of your cookies. Take care when removing the cookies from the baking sheet, as delicate shapes may break on removal. While the cookies are cooling, clean up your work space and get prepared for the decorating process.
IF you are not much for frosting, here is where you can make your cookies look nice in one easy step. Simply sprinkle colored sugars onto the cookies BEFORE they go into the oven.
Bake for 7-8 minutes in a 350 degree oven
Decorating Your Sugar Cookies
To make sugar cookie frosting you will need a few simple items:
4 cups of sifted powered sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
5 Tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of almond extract
Various food coloring
Sprinkles, colored sugars, mini chocolate pieces, red hots, string licorice. Anything you think would work well on a sugar cookie
Begin by putting the butter in the dish, add in the vanilla and almond extract. Start mixing in a portion of the powered sugar. As you work on this you will find it more difficult to stir. This is where the milk comes in. Add by tablespoon and see how thick/thin the frosting is. Continue until you reach desired consistency.
Based on the type of cookie shapes you are decorating, divide the frosting into several smaller bowls. proceed to adding food coloring to get the colors you will be needing. For our purposes today, I made spring colors.
Mix up some frosting, select sprinkles or small chocolate pieces
Creative Ways to Decorate a Sugar Cookie
Homemade Sugar Cookies are Beautiful, Fun and Delicious!
Share and Enjoy!!
Once you have finished frosting all of your cookies, take a moment and snap a picture of your artist expression! After all, you have just made several works of art! Brew some coffee or a hot cup of tea and sit and enjoy a cookie, you earned it!
Then, make someone's day and bring them a brightly colored cookie for their enjoyment. I guarantee they will be so tickled you thought of them enough to make them a sugar cookie.
Thank you for following along and I wish you joy and happiness as you make some good old fashioned sugar cookies!
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