Frosted Cookies - for Holidays or any day
Decorated cut out Cookies
With Faces or Just Plain Frosting
I love to bake cookies for the holidays or any day. When my kids were little they always helped me by getting out all the supplies needed, mixing the dough, and of course, eating the cookies. This recipe is also good for decorated Christmas cookies. The dough is perfect for cookie cutters. Any time of the year, these cookies are very good.
I had the cutest cookie jars sitting on my shelves in the pantry, but they were rarely full. If the kids and their friends did not sneak all the cookies, then I would hide some to go with my coffee after supper.
The recipe below is excellent for making frosted cookies for Christmas, Halloween, or for any holiday cookie. You can use cookie cutters in shapes of trees, angels, or Santa for Christmas; hearts for Valentine's Day; bunnies for Easter; or in any shape for any time of year. How about shamrocks for St. Paddy's Day?
I have a lot of very old cookie cutters and I keep them in large baskets for ease of finding them. Some are so old that I can no longer use them -- these I made a wall decoration with, which is very unique and a great conversation starter. For the Halloween Jack-O-Lantern cookies, I just use a large biscuit cutter or a beverage glass. I find that many holiday cookie cutters are too shallow and the dough sticks to the design inside. My kids and I had more fun creating our own designs.
Frosted Halloween Cookies
Decorate like Jack-O-Lanterns (Kids love to help with the decorating.)
1 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extracts
3 1/4 cup flour (sifted)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sour cream
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Beat egg yolks slightly, adding vanilla and almond extracts and add to butter-sugar mixture. Add sour cream, mix well, then gradually add in dry ingredients. Mix well after each addition of dry ingredients.
Roll dough out on floured board until about 1/2" thick. Cut with a round cookie cutter. I usually use a glass that has about a 3" diameter. Place on non-stick cookie sheet. Bake 15 - 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool cookies on racks or wax paper. Frost cookies and decorate with Jack-O'-Lantern faces.
I have never followed a recipe for this frosting, so bear with me if the ratio of ingredients do not turn out right. Use your own judgment here.
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
milk (very little)
orange food coloring
1 tube of yellow frosting
1 tube of green frosting
Cream butter and sugar till smooth. Add just enough milk to make the frosting a good spreading consistency. Taste the frosting. If it is too "buttery", add more powdered sugar. When the taste is right for you, add a few drops of orange food coloring. Frost cookies with orange frosting. With green frosting add a little stem at top. With yellow frosting paint a face on the cookie. Recipe makes about three dozen cookies.
When my kids were little, orange food coloring was not yet available. Being a very creative mother, I used red and yellow to color the frosting. I usually came up with a pink frosting which was very odd for Jack-O'-Lanterns -- but, my kids loved the cookies anyway.
If cookies are not eaten up soon, or if you want to take some to a party or your child's school classroom, place them single layer in a wax paper lined gift box and put the lid on. This will prevent the frosted faces from getting messed up.
I have been told by a friend that if you gently melt the butter first then refrigerate it till firm again, you will get a more "buttery" taste in the cookie. Her Grandmother used to do this. I have never tried it, but it makes sense to me.
If you want to bake ahead for the holidays the cookies freeze well. If freezing the cookies, do not frost them. Just spread them out on a cookie sheet, cover and chill in freezer till frozen then put them in a zip-lock freezer bag. I never have enough left over to freeze. It seems that every kid in the neighborhood knows when I am baking cookies. Well...I guess that is a trick if one is ever lonesome -- just bake some cookies and people will come around.
Kids Love to Decorate the Cookies
The carving of pumpkins into "jack-o-lanterns' is a popular American symbol of Halloween, but it originated in Europe. The "lantern" was originally carved from turnips or rutabagas. The Celts used these lanterns to symbolize a head, the most powerful part of the body which contained the spirit and knowledge, to frighten off any evil or superstitions. The name of jack-o-lantern perhaps comes from an old Irish legend of "Stingy Jack", who, after having tricked the devil was cursed to forever wander the earth with only a candle inside a turnip to light his way.
Sugar Cookie Cut-outs
Time Saving Cutting Sheet
Now that my kids are grown there is no need to make the cookie cutting process and fun bonding time. My focus is to make as many cookies as I can in a much shorter time period.
A cookie cutting sheet is what I need. They are the size of a cookie sheet and have a variety of shapes on them. The dough is rolled out and placed over the cutout sheet which is sitting on the cookie sheet. Then the rolling pin is rolled from one end to the other as it presses the dough through the cutout shapes. Each shape falls onto the cookie sheet, the cutout sheet with the dough scraps is lifted off and the cookies popped into the oven.
Now that is what I call a fine invention. I can make a lot of cutout cookies this way and deliver them to my kids and their kids so they can decorate them.
Now, if someone can tell me just where to find a cutout sheet like that I will be a very happy baker.
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Fun With Cookie Cutters
Note From Author
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© 2010 Phyllis Doyle Burns