December 9, 2011

LSL {Foodie Friday} - Holiday Cookies

It's that time of year, Christmas is quickly approaching and the annual baking of holiday cookies is soon to be underway at my house. I love this tradition, my roommate (who by the way is an extraordinary baker) makes all the dough ahead of time, and then I do what I know best and help her fancy them up with icing. Last year I think we probably made close to 100 cookies. Not only was it fun to hang out, drink champagne and wine while we decorated, it was also fun to pass them out and see the looks on our friend's faces when they received a bundle of our goodies.  

While looking for fun cookie decorating ideas I came across Glorious Treats' holiday cookies and cupcakes. I was instantly drawn to them, 1. because I have a small affinity for snowflake designs and 2. because they were not the traditional red and green holiday colors. I am a fan of changing it up and trying new colors on Christmas and I may have decorated my tree in just turquoises, silvers, and golds last year. If you're in the mood for a little holiday baking this weekend, below is an easy sugar cookie recipe and a pretty picture to along with it for lovely decorating inspiration. 

Sugar Cookies

{adapted by: Glorious Treats}
Recipe yields about 30, 2 1/2 inch cookies or 16, 3 1/2 inch cookies.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

Parchment paper

-In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
-In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This should take about 3 minutes. 
-Add the egg and vanilla and beat another minute or so.
-Add the flour mixture slowly. (Be careful not to add too much at a time or you will have a snowstorm of flour.)
-Blend until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
-Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a piece of parchment paper. 
-Using your hands, knead the dough a few times.
-Place the dough in a large plastic ziplock bag and refrigerate for about 2 hours. If you want to speed up the chilling process, place the bag of dough in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.
-When it's almost time to remove the dough from the refrigerator (or freezer), preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
-When the dough has chilled and is firm, take out about half of the dough, leaving the rest in the refrigerator (until your ready to work with it). 

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. 

Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. This helps you roll out the dough without adding additional flour (adding too much flour can make the dough a bit tough, and can create little pockets of flour in the dough that cause bumps to form on your cookies during baking, making it more difficult to decorate later).

Roll out the dough to about 1/3 of an inch thick. 

Cut the dough with your choice of cookie cutters. 

Place cookie shapes on a prepared baking sheet. 

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookie.  
Cool for just a minute or so on the pan, then carefully remove cookies from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.

Once cooled, start decorating those cookies.

Bon Appetit!

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