Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cookie Season!

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'll just come out with it. I am obsessed with cookies.

I'm also bad at making decisions. Especially when there are many options.

Needless to say, it's always difficult for me to choose which recipes to bake this time of the year because there are just so many to choose from. Thankfully, Tom usually knows what he wants, and on Tuesday it was sugar cookies.

Problem was, I wanted cranberry-white chocolate cookies. Oh what was I to do?

Make both!

I prepared the sugar cookie dough first because it needs an hour to chill in the fridge. I used the same recipe from last year and made some slight changes with the extracts. I also made the cookies thicker and was very pleased with that decision. I really enjoyed the softer texture of the final product.

Do you see that ornament in the top left? That's our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It even plays music!

Sadly, the cranberry cookies didn't come out like I was hoping. I won't even bother to post the recipe.

However, it was very difficult to refrain from eating the entire batch of sugar cookies in one sitting. It's possible that a few were lost in the decorating process. The almond extract really makes these cookies pop!

I gave some to my mentor teacher, brought some in for the other interns at Montpelier, and Tom shared some with his co-workers. I definitely see another batch being baked in the near future.

What are your favorite cookies this time of the year?

Can you guess which cookie is my favorite? (pst....check out the little man in the center)

Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Homemade by Holman

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, more for dusting surfaces

1. Cream butter in a mixing bowl on medium high speed until light (two minutes). Add the powdered sugar and beat until well mixed. Add the egg, extracts, and salt and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and beat on low until ingredients are just mixed.

2. Wrap ball of cookie dough well in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for one hour (or overnight).

3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie pan with parchment paper.

4. Flour working surface and rolling pin. Roll cookie dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut cookies with cookie cutters. The buttered rim of a drinking or wine glass also doubles as a cookie cutter. Place cookies on baking sheets and bake 8-10 minutes. Cookies should not brown.

Royal Icing

4 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder (or Just Whites)
1/2 cup warm water

Combine sugar, meringue powder, and 6 tablespoons of water in mixing bowl. Beat on medium high for 7-10 minutes, adding water if mixture is too thick. You will want the mixture to be runny at the end in order to pipe the cookies with icing bag and tips. Otherwise, you can leave it thicker if you are using a knife to frost the cookies.

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