Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Butter Met Sugar

It was a friends birthday and sometimes its just fun to make someones day a little bit more special. I had went to Micheals to look for cookie packaging ideas, wow, there are a lot of fun options now! Almost enough to make me want to treat someone to cookies every day, but I get a little exhausted at the thought.
For this batch I found a super cute (eh, manly) faux paint bucket and some super neat sheets of printed waxed paper. Packaging the cookies was almost as fun as baking them!

Frosted Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup baker's sugar (or granulated sugar whirled in a food processor for a few seconds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter, softened
2-2/3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon meringue powder, optional
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Assorted sprinkles

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add egg and egg yolk seperately, mixing well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour; beat on low just until combined. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.

Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters of your choice and place 2 in. apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

For frosting, cream shortening and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and meringue powder if desired; beat until combined. Add milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Thin with a little more milk if desired for consistency. Frost cookies and decorate with sprinkles. Let stand until set. 2-1/2 dozen cookies.


Dough can be refrigerated for 2 days or double wrapped with plastic wrap and placed in a ziploc bag and frozen for a month (thaw in the fridge to use). Oddly enough, as the dough sets in the fridge the flavors increase so time is in your favor if you want to prepare the dough and bake a day or two later.

When rolling out dough for cut-out cookies and pie pastry, dust the surface with flour then place the disk of dough in the center and flip over, now the top is lightly floured as well. Now start rolling from the center out to the sides and rotate the round of dough occassionaly, reflouring underneath if necessary. Occassionaly rotating the dough keeps the dough from sticking to the work surface and avoids the aww shucks moment when you realize your cutouts are welded to the counter.

Work your dough gingerly. To much mixing, kneading and re-rolling scraps will lead to a tougher cookie.

Lastly, the broken cookies - those are for the cook!

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