Originally, I was going to entitle this one sugar cookies and frosting, but then I realized that most of the time, we use the already made and colored frosting (that I buy on clearance) to decorate our sugar cookies. Our sugar cookies are all about the decorations at this time of year. Whenever there is a clearance of colored sugars, sprinkles, decorations, jimmies, “decors” (as the manufacturer calls them), I buy them and save them for two things: the time we decorate sugar cookies and any ice cream sundae bars throughout the year. I also use coconut, nuts (make really great dirt, sand, gravel, rocks), coconut, little candies, etc. Since we don’t (yet) decorate a gingerbread house (I love my Kitchen Aid too much to risk it on the mortar of royal icing), our cookie decorating palooza substitutes for it.
(I’ve been guilty in the past of purchasing the sugar cookie dough, as well. When you aren’t going to cut them into shapes and are simply going to decorate the rounds…that’s a really quick fix. Also, our sugar cookies tend to be the last things eaten at Christmas.)
I recently found a sugar cookie recipe that promises to be a great one for cutting out cookies (i.e. the cookies, once cut out with the adorable cutters, don’t turn into scary blobs). Here’s the kicker: it makes over three dozen. Great if you are making them for a party. But our decorating steam tends to run out around a dozen and a half (or fewer). So, we halved the recipe.
Meaning…here we go:
(Halved from the Sweetopia one)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (or, as the recipe suggests, the seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of your trusty stand mixer (or with a hand mixer and a big bowl) on low to medium. Mix until fully incorporated only. The website says that over mixing at this point will cause too much spreading. Scrape down your bowl and mix again for a few seconds more.
Add egg and slowly mix. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and mix again.
Add vanilla and stir briefly.
Sift flour and salt together. Add all of the flour to the bowl. Make an impromptu cover for the bowl using a tea towel. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Remove the towel. When the dough clumps around the blades or the paddle attachment it’s ready. Do not over mix the dough!
Roll the dough between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge at least 1 hour.
Roll out the dough until cutting consistency and cut into shapes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. If necessary, roll out scraps and repeat. Put in the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again (to allow them to hold their shape).
Bake the cookies in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes or until the edges become golden brown. Decorate once cookies are room temperature.
Here are some shots of our past efforts:
Yes…things get that messy.
Even Santa eats some:
Here’s the card for your recipe binder: