Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day Recipe: Sugar Cookies

Look out waist-line! Samantha has a new favorite cookie!

I seriously am completely in love with this cookie recipe. I just got new cookie cutters for my birthday so I wanted to try them out. I never really liked the iced sugar cookies you get in the grocery store. I always found them...dull maybe? But I found this recipe on Joy of Baking and have found my favorite cookies since my More or Less Peanut Butter Cookies. They are rich and buttery and sweet and the icing is just enough and not too much. The only thing I changed about their recipe was using lime juice instead of lemon juice. (Lime juice was all I had but I liked it better anyway.)

Here's the recipe from Joy of Baking.com:

3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 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 (177 degrees C) 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 (1 cm). (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 baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.

Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you can sprinkle the unbaked cookies with 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 or overnight.)
Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.

Samantha's tips: make sure to refrigerate as often and as long as the recipe says! No skimping on that!
Also, be sure to use plenty of flour on the cutting board so they don't stick. The recipe says it makes 36 cookies, but I made about 6 dozen.

For the icing:
2 large (60 grams) egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (I used lime juice instead)
3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more sugar or water. Add food coloring, if desired. The icing needs to be used immediately or put in an airtight container as it hardens when exposed to air. 

I made these as Valentines for friends and as a gift for friends in the hospital.

I made 6 dozen of these this weekend. And I probably ate about 2 dozen myself. Oops.

Guarantee: I guarantee your man will like these or your money back. (But since there's no fee for looking at this blog you're just going to have to take my word for it...)

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