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Okay, it's the day before Christmas Eve, you have all your shopping done, but one big item still remains: that dessert you promised the family you would bring. Who has time to think about food when the countdown to Christmas was ticking away?
Well, if you're still not sure exactly what to whip up, why not try this recipe for sugar cookies. It is sure to be a hit at the party (who doesn't love cookies?) and you won't have to spend your entire Saturday getting them ready. Just follow these steps and you're promised a successful, made-from-scratch treat that will have everyone requesting them again for next year:
This recipe for rolled sugar cookies produces cookies that will hold up well to cutting and baking. They're also quite delicious.
Rolled Sugar Cookies
(Makes 5 dozen)
11/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the wet ingredients until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 F. On a surface coated with some confectioners' sugar, roll out the dough to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thickness (a thinner cookie will be crispier). Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place cookies 1 inch apart on the parchment.
5. Bake around 5 to 7 minutes, or just until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Remove promptly from the cookie sheet and cool on a rack.
6. Decorate the cookies using icing (recipe below) when the cookies cool, or sprinkle with colored sugar while cookies are warm.
(Covers 1 dozen cookies)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Assorted food coloring
1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
2. Divide the icing into separate containers to add choice of colors. Mix until well blended.
3. Use a piping tip and pastry bag to outline the cookie in a thin bead of the icing. Allow to dry.
3. Then use a paintbrush to fill in the design with the remainder of the icing.
4. Wait an hour or more for the icing to completely harden before serving.
Note:Gel colors found in craft stores in the cake decorating aisle produce deep colors with little product necessary. They're also less likely to thin out icings than liquid food coloring.