Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Sugar Cookies from my Grandma
My paternal grandma, Velma, was an amazing cook. Her house had a very distinct home-y smell, almost as if the decades of delicious meals she had prepared had lingered around. I'm sure you're grandma's house has the same smell. She passed away when I was eight years old so I was a little young to learn her recipes from her first hand but I am very lucky to have several of her best, in her handwriting, on her recipe cards. One of my favorites is her sugar cookies. I can't even tell you the last time I made her sugar cookies which means it was long overdue! When she would make them, she would roll them into a ball and mash them with a fork covered in sugar but I decided to use cookie cutters. If you take the easy road, I promise they'll still taste good. As I work my way through my grandma's recipes, I've found several that I've seen in other places (this one included!)- either identical or nearly so- which makes me think that those recipes have made their way around over the years. I remember looking at her recipe as a little girl and wondering why she put tartar sauce in them. :)
2 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature (NOT melted)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1. Cream together butter, egg, vanilla, and powdered sugar. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda.
2. Slowly add flour mixture to liquid mixture until JUST combined. Do not over mix.
3. Press together in a disc shape on wax paper. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
4. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness on floured surface. (I find it to be a little easier if you break the disk into 4 chunks and roll out each one individually. Don't worry if the edges seem like they're falling apart. Keep rolling and the center should stay together. Don't forget to flour your rolling pin!) Cut desired shapes with cookie cutters. If you'd like to leave them plain (without icing) sprinkle white sugar on cookies at this time. (note: keep cut, unbaked cookies, in the fridge if they're not in the oven. If you leave them out on the counter and let them reach room temperature, they will bake up all puffy and they''ll lose their shape! And don't over crowd the pan! I bake 4 at a time so the edges don't touch!)
5. Bake 350 for 8-10 minutes on parchment paper lined cooking sheet. I'm still learning my gas oven so they're a little uneven.
6. Let cookies cool completely before decorating with royal icing.
3 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar
1. In large bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy.
2. Add powdered sugar gradually while mixing on low until mixture is shiny. Start with 3 cups of powedered sugar and slowly add more to desired thickness. You don't want it so runny it slides off your cookies. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add food coloring and transfer to piping bag (or a large plastic bag with the end snipped off)
(I prefer Wilton color gel instead of regular food coloring. You can find it at Hobby Lobby and Michael's. I used a piping bag with a very small tip.)
4. If your icing is too thick and doesn't spread itself out after you fill in your outline, just use the back of a spoon to gently push it around.
P.S. I've added a little printer friendly button right down below each blog post so you can print my recipes if you wish to. If you open each blog post individually by clicking on the post title, they print out easily.