MAKING MY HOME A COZY PLACE TO LAND, ONE IDEA AT A TIME.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet Hearts for my Sweet Heart



As promised, here is the first of the recipes. While my sugar cookies don't look the greatest with this icing (I'm not an artist and it sometimes makes me sad), they sure taste great!

So, here's the recipe for the cookies and the recipe for the icing. This was the first time I made this recipe of icing, so I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was very good! If you don't want the hassle of a new recipe, you can always use the one on the Domino Confectioner's Sugar box or you can cheat and buy a can of icing and simply color it.

Now, I didn't really want a lot of cookies (I've been baking up a storm this past week), so I cut the recipe in half. I'll give the full recipe though. I also didn't need a whole pound of icing too, so I cut this recipe in half and then in half again. That made for some interesting measurements! But, without further ado, here goes!

Sugar Cookies!

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

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 extract 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 and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

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. 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. 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.

Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours.)

Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

NOTE: Ok, first of all, I was out of parchment paper, so I simply greased the cookie sheets with shortening. Next, be sure to keep the cookies about an inch apart on the cookie sheets because they still spread a little bit. Also, I don't use unsalted butter, even if the recipe calls for it. So, if you don't have unsalted butter, don't worry...the cookies still taste yummy! Lastly, let your eggs get to room temperature. It just works a little better. Eggs and butter should always be at room temperature unless the recipe says otherwise.

And here's the finished product (you've seen this before though, in the previous post)!

And now, for the icing. The recipe says to use royal icing, but I used good ol' buttercream icing.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)

2 tablespoons milk

Directions:

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

NOTE: When the recipe says that the icing will appear dry, it really looks dry. It's very clumpy. Don't worry, as soon as you add the milk, things wll soften up.

And then, there's the finished cookies! Yummy! By the way, I don't think they are gonna make it to Valentine's Day!

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