Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cookie #4: Frosted Sugar Cookies


If I had to chose my favorite Christmas cookie of all-time, hands down it would be a frosted sugar cookie. Nothing beats a moist, chewy sugar cookie topped with colored frosting and sugar (although, these cookies are a very close second). Because sugar cookies do require a bit more work that say a chocolate chip cookie due to the fact that you have to cut them out and decorate them, they're not something I make very often. However, I always make them every Christmas, and I think I look forward to the delicious cookie dough as much as the cookies themselves.

Over the years, I've tried different sugar cookie variations involving cream cheese and sour cream, but this super simple recipe I found on AllRecipes is hands down the best I've tried, and it's been my go-to for some time now.

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).  


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  


Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
I think sugar cookies are the best when they're still soft and chewy, so be sure not to overbake them! 

There is some debate between frosting and icing. Frosting is thick and sugary, and while I think it tastes much better on the cookies, it's also softer and more difficult to store the decorated cookies without messing them up. Icing, on the other hand, is more smooth and shiny and usually dries to a hard finish, but doesn't taste quite as good, in my opinion. For a long time I used use this icing recipe when I made sugar cookies, and it's a great recipe to use if icing is what you're looking for. Cam is a much bigger fan of frosted sugar cookies, so for the past few years I've gone with frosting instead. I used this frosting recipe from AllRecipes, but I ended up adding a little more powdered sugar to get it to the consistency I wanted. 

Sugar Cookie Frosting

Ingredients

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring

Directions

In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.
As far as decorating goes, I used red (which always comes out pink) and green frosting on my stars and trees, and then I topped some with sugar and some with sprinkles (both from Target).


And in honor of my Michigan Wolverines going to the Sugar Bowl in a few weeks (woooo!), I even busted out my block M cookie cutter...GO BLUE!!
 

We're having a fabulous time in Oregon so far and today is actually my lovely mother-in-law's birthday, so it's nice to be able to be here and celebrate with her. I'll have some photos from our visit later this week, and I've got another one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes on tap for tomorrow! See ya then! Xoxo

PS: In case you missed it this morning, be sure to check out my green gift guide  for some last-minute eco-friendly shopping ideas!

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