Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Buttery Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are the easiest to make but if done right, they can look like you spent hours creating a masterpiece. I myself have shied away from making these for a long period, because of the fear of unknown. But when I finally made these I couldn't believe how easy these were. Now, I make it with my kids who love to help. And to add to the fun, let them cut out bugs or whatever they are crazy about, and help them bake their creations. Just the smiles and giggles make the cleanup, totally worth it!

2 1/2 cup all purpose flour + a little more to dust the board or counter
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract (try to get the clear variety for both the will have brighter whiter cookies, that will make a better canvas if you choose to have it iced)
1 tsp Almond extract ( or substitute it with orange or lemon extract for a fun twist. And do match the flavor when you ice)
1 1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
Like any baking recipe goes deal with the wet ingredients first. In mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar until its all light and fluffy. Add egg, beat it well and then add extracts. Dont beat extracts too much, you dont want the alcohol evaporating too rapidly, if you want your cookies to actually smell good.

Now leave the wet mix alone, and move over to the dry mix. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
Now using a measuring cup,  add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Divide dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle or any other shape you want. It really doesnt matter, since you are going to use cookie cutters and cut it into shapes.What matters is the thickness. It should be about 1/8th inch. Too thin will burn it to cinders and too thick will mess with the baking time.  Dipping cookie cutter in flour before each use will actually make the dough less sticky and hence more cleaner cuts.

Use an ungreased cookie sheet to gently arrange the cut shapes and bake them for 6-7 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Using parchment paper makes sure they slide right off the pan after baking.This recipe will make about 36 cookies depending on what size the cutters are.

And if you mess up a little, and the cookies are burnt a little, dont worry! Just use a butter knife to gently scrape off the burnt part and cover up the mistake with a smear of icing. ;-)
if you want to ice, make sure you wait until the cookies are cooled completely, which should be done in about 30 minutes after you take them out of the oven.

Icing Tips:-
Icing can be done as an artwork- elaborate or funny faces-your choice... or you can up the fun by putting a scoop of icecream between two identical cookies. Or you could just ice the whole batch with a dollop of cream cheese icing and slap them together to have sandwich cookies, whenever you are in the mood. Just make sure you put them in the refrigerator and use it up within one week. Enjoy!!!

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