NOTHING IS MORE COMFORTING THAN HOMEMADE SUGAR COOKIES AT CHRISTMAS!
CHRISTMAS!!!! :) :) :)
My family had lots of Christmas traditions growing up as a kid: eating cookies, eating chex mix, eating fried dough on Christmas Eve, etc. One of these traditions (prior to the eating) has always been frosting sugar cookies! We used my 'Aunt Sheila's' kick ass recipe every year, a quickie almond glaze for decorating and sprinkles, shredded coconut & nuts galore! Sugar cookies are one of the first things that come to mind when I think of Christmas because it really is fun at any age. You could be a mom with small kids that is just hoping anyof the icing ends up on the cookie or a baker that is dying to try out their new cookie cutter. IT SHOULD BE FUN!!!
Whatever you do, don't listen to THIS lady... ;)
This haggard old recipe has as many miles as Santa's sleigh! *snort*
Now… deep breath… I need you organic crunchy types to look at me. It’s going to be as hard for me as it is for you. Personally? I’m not a fan of Crisco or any processed chemically things. GROSS!!! In fact, this is the only recipe I used that has Crisco in it. These cookies, however? They need Crisco. And, sadly, not the organic stuff. Substituting butter makes these cookies delicious but crispy. (I don’t believe in crispy sugar cookies). Substituting organic Crisco also makes them crispy– just not the same fat content. So if you don’t want these cookies to melt in your mouth with a satisfying chew and you’re going to substitute, go with the butter! But really, just use the dang Crisco.
Sugar cookies can be a little daunting due to the need for a rolling pin, but trust me... YOU GOT THIS. First things first, set your oven to 375 and clean your countertop where you'll be rolling out dough. I throw my flour and salt into a big bowl. I then combine all of my wet ingredients (evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla) in a separate bowl.
I use a measuring cup because it all fits in there and who doesn't like less dishes!?
Then, I throw my butter and Crisco into my dry ingredients, and with this fancy pie cutter, I cut all of the fat up until I get little bitty pea-sized pieces of butter. You can also use a cuisinart instead! Just pulse lightly until you get the desired pea size consistency.
Like these guys. :)
Then, throw your sugar in there and give it a mix.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and fill it with the wet ingredients.
Give it a light mix until everything is barely moistened.
Flour your countertop and dump out the goods.
And then begin to knead it a bit and squeeze, adding the remaining crumbs along the way...
Until it comes together into a ball! It will be flaky. :)
I always cut my dough in half just because it's easier to roll out. Always lightly flour on both sides so nothing sticks to the countertop or the rolling pin every time you flip, move or spin the dough.
You want to continue to roll out until its about a 1/4 inch.
Then the fun part... Use those cutters! :)
Lay them out on a cookie tray. They can be fairly close as they don't spread much. Then, bake for 8-12 minutes depending on the size of your cookie. If you see brown around the edges, you've gone too long. I'll actually lift a cookie up above my head with a spatula to see what it looks like on the bottom.
Also, I believe in Christmas lobsters and Christmas martini glasses...
And then decorate! Okay, maybe this is the most fun part. :) For the icing, you just sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add a little melted butter, a whiff of almond extract and a teaspoon of milk at a time until you get the desired spreading consistency. Separate the icing into separate bowls and add food gel to make various colors.
And remember... YOU CAN'T SCREW UP A SUGAR COOKIE. JUST FROST IT AND EAT IT. "Or I'll pull up quick to retrieve it!" ;)
SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
Prep Time: 30 min, Total Time 2 hr
For cookies: 4 c. flour
3/4 c. butter
1/4 c. crisco
1 1/2 c. sugar
5 T evaportated milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
For icing: 4 c. powdered sugar
1 drop of almond extract
2 T. melted butter
Milk to desired consistency
Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, whisk your flour and salt together.
Cut in butter and crisco with a pastry cutter until chunks resemble the size of small peas. Mix in sugar.
In a seperate bowl, whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk and vanilla.
Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the middle. Mix until barely moistened.
On a floured surface, dump out the dough and knead until it forms a ball.
Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut out cookies with cutters. Lay cookies out on a tray with parchment and bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on size.
For icing: Sift powdered sugar in a bowl. Add extract and melted butter. Whisk together and add milk until a teaspoon of milk at a time until desired consistency.
Notes: Sugar cookie dough is like pie crust dough. It will be flaky! Be careful not to overwork. Check the bottoms of cookies for doneness. If the edges have browned, you've gone too far.