Thursday, December 23, 2010

Decorated Sugar Cookies

It's almost midnight.  I'm laying on a futon mattress on top of an air mattress (my genius idea to make an air mattress more comfortable) in the attic room of my in-laws house, watching tv and typing this post.  Why are we staying on an air mattress at the in-laws?  Well, more on that in the next blog post. 

Since we have been busy packing and moving, I've hardly baked.  So the second day here in Kingsport, I got out my KitchenAid and made sugar cookies.  I had hoped to decorate the sugar cookies with royal icing and try some new icing techniques, but my icing didn't turn out very well so I scrapped that and went back to the icing recipe I normally use, which is just a basic buttercream.  In the end, it was much more fun for me to have my husband and his siblings help decorate the cookies that it would have been to decorate them all on my own. 

Sugar Cookies
Source: Betty Crocker Cookbook
Recipe: Here

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease cookie sheet with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
Divide dough in half.  Roll each half 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured surface.  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.  Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
Bake 7-8 minutes or until edges are light brown.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Source: Betty Crocker

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk

Mix powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl with spoon or electric mixer on low speed.  Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk.
Gradually beat in just enough milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable.  If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time.  If frosting becomes too thin, beat in small amount of powdered sugar.

Amy's Notes:
I love these sugar cookies.  Because sugar cookies are so much work, I really only make them about once a year, but I always use this recipe.  I find that in order for them to be nice and soft you have to bake them for a little shorter time than the recipe calls for--I believe I baked most of mine between 6 1/2-7 minutes.  This particular time, I made two batches: one regular batch and one with a little cinnamon and nutmeg added.  Both were good.

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