Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day...Part 1

I stayed up 'til midnight icing these Valentine's Day cookies for my boys' respective classes. I found out that my son's pre-K doesn't allow homemade items to be shared with the children....a very dumb and overprotective rule in my opinion. After all, how many children have been injured or made ill from cookies and brownies? Sometimes good intentions suck the fun right out of life. So, I left the cookies for the teachers to eat. They must have decided they weren't poisoned because they were all gone by the time I returned.

And now, I am going to share my grandmother's super-fabulous, scrumptious, mouthwatering sugar cookie recipe! She would make and ice them for Christmas and Valentine's Day each year when I was a child. I have never tasted a sugar cookie that comes close to tasting this delicious. Most store-bought, and even professional bakery sugar cookies, can be doughy and unappealing.

So, take my word for it and try these out. If you don't think they are the best, you're just in denial about your tragic childhood lack of great sugar cookies! :-)


4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk- added gradually
2 sticks of butter(1/2 pound)

First, cream the butter. Second, cream the sugar into the butter, adding the eggs and vanilla once the sugar is completely mixed in. After combining the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, slowly begin mixing them into the wet mixture. Once evrything else is mixed completely through, gradually add the 1/4 cup of milk. Refrigerate the dough overnight or for at least several hours. This allows time for the dough to firm up and be able to withstand being rolled out without becoming too gooey.

Flour wax paper and roll out the dough to about to 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.(1/4 inch works best IMHO) Cut out in your desired shape and cook in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes.

When you first make them, watch them closely. If they become golden brown, then they are overdone and will become crispy and hard when they have cooled. You want them to just be changing from a pale ivory to just a hint of goldeness around the edges. This is very important to get the right texture. My oven runs hot and I usually cook them for about 9-10 minutes.

The icing recipe:

1 stick of butter, softened and creamed
4 cups of powdered sugar SIFTED
1 tsp vanilla extract
a dash of milk here and there..yes, I know that's vague.

OK. The first few times I made these cookies, I was severely disappointed. They just didn't taste as good as my grandmother's cookies. I have learned that is extremely important to actually sift the powdered sugar. I sometimes slack off about such things, but it really makes a huge difference in the icing and its creaminess. When adding the sugar to the butter, you will need to periodically add a tablespoon of milk to thin out the mixture. The icing should be smooth and creamy-like frosting for a cake.

Once you have the icing ready and the cookies have cooled, add food coloring to the icing to get the colors that you want for your cookies and frost away! Let the cookies sit out on wax paper for several hours or overnight. This allows the icing to lose some of its moisture. The icing will firm up, on the outside, but will still be creamy and moist underneath a thin veneer. They will be a lot easier to handle and pack in tins or for a surprise care package.

This recipe makes between 4-6 dozen cookies, depending on how large your cookie cutters are.

So, make them; eat them; let me know how great they are!


Kristie said...

You made me laugh this morning. (Staying up late then finding out about the rule regarding homemade cookies.)

They look beautiful!

terri said...

Yeah...that kind of stunk!

Of course, if I hadn't procrastinated making them, I wouldn't have had to stay up so late. But, that's another story.