Nov 30 2013
I’m a sugar fiend, and one of my most favorite treats is a sugar cookie with some icing. I like ‘em all – flaky cookies with glaze; cakey cookies with buttercream icing and everything in between, especially with colorful sprinkles on top. Because I’m also a color fiend.
When I was a kid, my mom made two kinds of sugar cookies: some were lemon flavored which we cut out in shapes and then topped with sanding sugar before baking. One year, mom also made some nifty ones once with food color paint – but the paint didn’t taste as nice as the sugar tasted.
This year, I feel like doing holiday baking. I usually do a batch or two of *something* to take to cookie exchanges with friends or coworkers. But I am planning to mail out some cookies to family and friends far and wide, so this year I’m taking the opportunity to try out some new recipes and do some fun baking just for the sake of fun. And also for the sake of heating up the house – so far this Fall has been a lot colder than last year was.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 1/4 cups Powdered Sugar
1 cup and 2 Tb Butter
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest from one lemon
2 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
It comes together super simply – mix sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Add flour a bit at a time. I found the dough was extremely dry – so I added 1 Tb lemon juice and 1 Tb water to get a better consistency. It’s a buttery dough, so expect it to be a little crumbly but the crumbs should be able to be pressed into rounds. Split the dough in two rounds, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate at least two hours (I refrigerated overnight).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Set dough out to come to room temperature. Once dough is at room temperature (about 30 minutes), roll it out. I rolled my dough to about 1/8 inch thickness on my enormous plastic cutting board. After I roll out the dough in one direction, I pick up the dough up and spin it 90 degrees so it doesn’t stick to the cutting board – no flour or powdered sugar necessary for the bottom and no wax paper needed to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and then place cookies on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. The cookies can be placed really close together because they don’t spread much. Bake for about ten minutes – I baked until they were just browning on the edges. Let them cool on the pan for two to three minutes and then place them on cooling racks.
The cookies themselves are good – not very sweet but very rich. They’re not crunchy, but they are crisp and flaky. The bit of lemon zest and juice is a really subtle flavor which just lightens the cookies a bit.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tb light corn syrup
1 – 3 Tb Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Food Coloring (as desired)
Whisk sugar, corn syrup and milk together. I needed a lot more milk than was called for in the original recipe to get a reasonable consistency – I probably used 3 Tb or so. Since I was going to dye the icing, I had no issue using vanilla extract but if you want a white icing, you probably shouldn’t. The icing was actually really easy to use – it did spread out evenly on the cookies, but you do have to guide it to little spots if you use a cookie cutter with a lot of detail.
Top the iced cookies with sprinkles or other decorations you’d like while the glaze is still wet. Once it’s completely set, you could also pipe decorative icing.
Voilà! Now you have pretty cookies which are tasty and not too sweet. I also imagine they will ship well, although only time will tell.
PS. These adorable cookie cutters came from Ikea – the set includes an elk, a hedgehog, a snail, a fox, a bear and a squirrel. You can find it here. I think the elk shape might be awesome to use on our anniversary next year since we got so close to so many elks during our marriage ceremony/ hike.