Friday, December 11, 2009

Sugar Cookies

Cut out sugar cookies have been a part of my holiday baking for a very long time. One year I actually used the roll out from a tube kind of sugar cookie found in the grocery store. Time was short that year and I was determined to bake cut-outs so I resorted to the "dough boy" mentality and made them suffice. The sugar cookie has always been the one recipe I insisted on making for the holidays.

Three years ago I tossed aside my long time used recipe. Sure, that particular recipe made a sound base for frosting and the taste was adequate. It was an old family recipe that everyone always raved about. Maybe you know the one I am writing about. The cookies were made with sour cream. Why not stick with the tried and true as I always do? This question of why came about when I realized I had been slaving over these cookies year after year out of a general sense obligation. The "dough boy" rage of sugar cookies may have resulted more from a rebellion rather than a time shortage but, nonetheless a journey began.

 The great sugar cookie experiment. After reading reviews after reviews I started trying new recipes. The taste and texture of the cookie was critical for me, more so than a solid frosting base. I finally found what I believe to be the best tasting cut-out cookie.This recipe will be my old stand by from now on.

If you are looking for the kind of cookie that comes out of the oven shaped exactly like the cutter that created it then this recipe is not for you. The texture is very delicate and light. The ending shape result will be more rounded and have less precise clear cut edges. This is a non-issue for me because taste overruled shape.

Enough blabbing.... already here is the recipe!

1 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups self rising flour

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour.Divide dough in half and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
On a lightly floured surface roll out out one half of the dough to a 3/16 inch thickness. Cut with floured cookie cutters.Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pan to cooling racks to cool completely. Frost with your favorite frosting or sprinkle with colored sugar prior to baking.

To help set the colored sugars to the cookies, brush the cookie with a mixture of lightly beaten egg white and a tablespoon of water.

This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe. The tender texture and easy ingredient list makes this recipe work for me. I suggest using small cookie cutters. The dough does not hold a firm shape like with a heavier dense cookie. The taste and texture makes this recipe a winner.
Credit for this recipe should go to Cathy Hall and Taste of Home magazine.

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