Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sugar Cookie Cutouts

I loved making sugar cookies as a kid, particularly the type you had to roll, cut out and decorate. Over the years I have tried numerous recipes for the sugar cookies and I recently found a recipe I just love...and the best part about it is you really don't have to chill the dough very long. This recipe is from Martha Stewart and if you know me, I love Martha Stewart...I have always loved Martha Stewart. I have learned some of the best tricks from her shows and website and her recipes never disappoint.

I get pretty impatient when it comes to waiting for dough to chill. Since I have been very busy lately, I make the dough a few days ahead of time and refrigerate. When I am ready I take the dough and pop it in the microwave on 60% power for about 15-20 seconds and it softens it just enough to roll out. I guess I could get it out and let it sit for a while, but I usually never plan ahead enough for that.


The ingredients for this recipe are pretty simple: flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs and vanilla.

To begin, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and mix until combined.

The batter once it is mixed and ready to go in the refrigerator.

I divide my dough up into smaller, more manageable portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Once it is wrapped, I flatten so it will be easy to start rolling once it has chilled.

I prefer thinner versus thicker cookies, so I roll my dough to just under a 1/4" thick, but I just "feel" the dough and I know if it is too thick or thin for my taste...

I try to work as quickly as I can while the dough is still cold. If your dough gets too warm, then pop it back in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes and begin again. The colder the dough the better it will retain its shape when baking. I often place my cookie sheet in the deep freezer for a few minutes before I place it in the oven to help chill the dough. The more intricate your cookie shape the colder you want the dough so it will maintain that shaper after it is baked.

Recipe

Essential Recipe N0. 2: Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling

Directions:

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream butter with sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add egga nd beat well to combine. Mix in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour and mix just until incorporated. Do not overmix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Space cookies 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until just barely golden around the edges, 7-12 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheets.

Decorate if desired.

Makes about 30 decorated cutout cookies, depending on size of cookie cutter.

I have a great royal icing recipe I will share with you soon that I used to decorate these cookies.

Until next time...Old Army Cook!

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