Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Baking Begins!

It was a wintry snowy morning - the perfect time to heat up the oven and gather 'round the baking dish to make iced sugar cookies. At 9:00 am five young helpers arrived at my invitation and we began rolling and cutting out the delicious cookie dough. Some were very thin, some were very fat but all were perfect. The sun came out and shone through my dining room lighting up our handiwork.

Sugar Cookies...

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap . Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.) Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet.

(TIP...Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.)

If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you may want to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with crystal or sparkling sugar.

2 large egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

Divide icing into separate portions and add food colouring as desired. Mix well. Pour each colour into a ziploc style sandwich bag and seal well. Cut a tiny bit off one of the bottom corners to use as an icing bag. Decorate cookies as desired.

Merry Christmas...


Mrs. Julie Fink said...

How fun! My daughter Sabrina and I will be baking tomorrow and I'm looking so forward to it! We'll be doing some embroidering too!

Bev said...

My son is now 25 years old, but he still requests iced sugar cookies every year for his Christmas package. Just got done baking them!

Carla said...

Yummy! (Love the snow in the back ground-don't want any here, I'll just admire yours...from a far:)