Monday, February 21, 2011

Iced Sugar Cookies

When I was about 8, my family moved to a small rural town in Southwestern Minnesota that has the BEST family-run bakery ever! (And to show how tasty they are, after my family moved out of town, and I went off to college, I would time my trips home so that I could swing through town and by the bakery, sometimes even calling my order in ahead of time to be sure they didn't sell out!)

They have two of my favorite sweets. The first, was a cream cheese filled bear claw. And, I know I wasn't the only one around who liked them. If we were too late getting to the bakery on a Saturday morning, I'd have to settle for a glazed doughnut, or something else equally tasty, but not what I preferred. If I got my hand on this recipe, I'd be in big trouble.

My other favorite was their iced cookies. A simple sugar cookie with a delicious icing. Pumpkins for Halloween, hearts for Valentines day, shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day..... These, too, were a favorite among many in town, and the large window display of trays would often sell out. I've tried multiple cookie & icing combinations, and haven't found anything even similar to theirs until now. The cookie is slightly different (I think it's the lemon), but the icing is almost a perfect match. These recipes will most likely become my new "go-to" for sugar cookies.

(These were made for my Superbowl Party)

ROLL OUT SUGAR COOKIES (From The Way The Cookie Crumbles)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4teaspoon lemon zest

In a medium bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. In a one-cup measuring cup, lightly beat the egg with the extracts.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer running, gradually pour in the sugar; add the lemon zest. Beat on medium until fluffy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, pour in the egg mixture and continue beating until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour and mix just until evenly blended.

Lightly knead the dough to form a ball, press it into a disk 1-inch thick, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Adjust a rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375F. If you’ve chilled the dough overnight, it’ll need to sit at room temperature for half an hour or so to soften slightly. On a very lightly floured sheet of wax paper with a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the dough, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thick. Cut cookies using a floured cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps, always using as little flour as necessary.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 5-9 minutes, until they no longer look wet on top. The baking time will depend on the size of the cookies you’ve cut. You don’t want the bottoms to be browned, except for maybe just a bit on the edges. Let the cookies rest for a couple minutes on the sheets before transferring them to cooling racks to finish cooling.

SUGAR COOKIE ICING (Adapted from All Recipes)

1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons non-dairy creamer
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring (I use the gel colorings)

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and creamer until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.

While working at a grocery store bakery, I learned the trick to quickly icing cookies was to dip them face down, then to scrape off the excess with your finger. (I recommend wearing gloves!)


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