Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sugar Cookies

By Diane Forrest

Today we celebrate Sugar cookies.   I always baked sugar cookies when my son was growing up, but mostly just around Christmas time.  I remember the first time I baked them.  I was with an all girl's church group and we were at our teacher's home.  The main thing I remember is we ate most of the dough, and baked hardly any cookies!

In the past several months my cookie passion has grown.   Since all of my family has moved away, I look for ways to keep in touch with them, and let them know I am thinking of them.  I used to send cookies or treats from online websites, but since I have such a large family, and didn't want to leave anyone out, it became too expensive to shower them with treats during holidays through the year. 

Now that i have more time on my hands I thought that instead of ordering things from some unknown place, I should just bake my own treats to send.  My first attempt was on Valentine ’s Day.  I found some cute heart shaped cupcake molds, and boxes to hold them.  It started out well, but ended kinda bad.  Trust me when I tell you cupcakes don't mail well.  Even though I thought they were secure in the cute little boxes, and would arrive the next day, they didn't survive the short journey and ended up smashed to pieces.  I was not to be deterred though.  St. Patrick’s day was right around the corner, and I saw visions of shamrocks floating in my head.  I went online and found the perfect shamrock cookie cutter.  When it came in the mail I set out making the cookies and sprinkling them with some green sugar I had left over from Christmas.  They turned out fine, but still not as cute as the professional ones from the sites I had ordered from.

Then, I discovered cookie icing!  This is an amazing product from Betty Crocker.  It spreads on easy, and then dries as to not make a mess or stick to the other cookies.  My first attempt came at Easter.  I used the icing to decorate some cute little bunnies and egg cookies.  Now I have never been accused of having artistic skills, but its ok, you don't have to be an artist, it’s a cookie! Just have fun with it.  I enjoy making the cookies and I hope my family enjoys eating them.  So on Sugar Cookie day, why not try your hand at making some cookies to share with your friends and family, or enjoy them yourself!  Here is the recipe I use; it’s called a tea cake which is a little thicker and easier to decorate.  Have fun!

Sugar Cookie Recipe (tea cake)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter, sugar and eggs.  Then add vanilla.  Mix flour salt and baking powder and add to creamed mixture.  To cut into shapes, take half the dough and place on either wax paper or a pastry sheet sprinkled with flour.  I usually have a little pile of flour on the side to dip into easily.   Make a ball out of the dough then sprinkle it with flour.  You dont want it to be sticky. Next take your rolling pin and rub it with flour, then roll out the dough to a flat sheet.  Cut into desired shape with cookie cutter and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, let cool then decorate.  If you aren't using icing, sprinkle with sugar before baking.  You can use colored sugar or just regular, but it won't stick to the cookie if you bake it first!


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