This is the ideal sugar cookie for cut outs as it stays flat and keeps its shape. The number of cookies to a recipe depends upon the size of the cutters and thickness of the cookie. For small cookies, roll the dough 1/8 inch thick - for larger cookies the dough should be rolled to 1/4 inch thick.
A temperature of 325 degrees for the oven allows the cookies to bake through browning minimally around the edges. This makes an ideal background for decorating.
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup or 8 ounces), room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract or grated rind from 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (Stir the flour in its container, dip the cup in
and sweep excess off with the back of a knife)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until very light in color and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until completely incorporated. Add the flavoring. Combine the flour and salt and add it to the butter mixture. Mix until everything is well combined.
Divide the dough in half (it will be very soft at this point) and wrap in
plastic film. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface to the desired thickness. It may have to warm up for a few minutes. Cut out the cookies and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes if 1/8 inch thick or 12 to 15 minutes if 1/4 inch
Decorated Cookies – page 2
thick.In any case the cookies should be set and just browning around the edges.Cool completely.
Stained Glass Cookies: Place hard colored candy in a plastic bag and crush with the back of a skillet or hammer. Do not crush it too finely. Cut out round or desired shape in the cookies and fill with crushed colored candy. It is better to use slightly larger pieces rather than the dust. When
the cookies bake the candy will melt making a stained glass effect. It is important to let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the parchment. Then go under them with a spatula and remove.
Painted Cookies: Combine 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/4 cup water or lemon juice in a bowl big enough to hold the largest cookie. Whisk to smooth completely. 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond may be added to the water if desired. Dot the surface with as few or many Gel Food Colors* as desired. With a bamboo skewer or toothpick, swirl the colors around. Do not over-swirl. Pick the cookies up by the edge and dip top side down into the glaze. Wipe excess off on the edge of the bowl. Place top side up on parchment to dry. Repeat until the cookies are all glazed or until the color becomes too muddled.
Colored Sugars*: Sprinkle them on before baking. Bake as called for.
*These gels and sugars may be found in grocery stores as well as kitchen supply stores.
©Copyright Helen S. Fletcher, 2009. All rights reserved.