Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sugar Cookies

My baby girls' intern-teacher left last week and instead of buying a present I thought I'd give decorated sugar cookies a go. Over the last few months I've seen several gorgeous decorated cookies and was extremely impressed with them. I've never worked with royal icing before so it was quite an adventure for me. I haven't made pictures of the end results, but I did get a lot of compliments.

I myself wasn't 100% satisfied. I made hearts with small sweet words written on top of them. I only used two colours, a very pale pink and a darker purple. The outlining went great, the flooding also went great, but the detailing was a bit tricky, I think it is definitely worth the time to practice, so I'll be looking for a new occasion to make these again.

But this is not a recipe for royal icing, this is about the cookies. Or should I say The Cookies. I found another great recipe over on Annie's Eats. I know, I know, I know.... I've been on a bit of an Annie-bender.... I can totally explain this. I recently went through her archives and marked a lot of recipes for my "to make" list, which I am now making. But back to The Cookies. They are very easy to make, hold their shape, have a nice texture and amazing flavour! Which is why I say The Cookies. The addition of lemon zest, vanilla extract and vanilla bean elevates these cookies from... well, cookies to Cookies. I had a hard time trying not to eat them.

So if you're looking for a great sugar cookie recipe: use this one. You will not regret it!


Sugar Cookies

Yield: depends on size cookie cutter, I made about 60 small hearts


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 large egg
2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Zest of half a lemon
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt


Cream together the butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth, about 1-2 minutes on medium-high speed.

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the back of a knife.

Add to the butter-mixture, the egg, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds and lemon zest and beat until blended.

Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated.

Form the dough into a disc and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, until chilled and firm.

Preheat the oven to 190˚C (375˚F). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough on a floured work surface, about 1/4-inch thick.

Cut the dough with cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until fully baked but not at all browned.

Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cookies are completely cooled you can decorate them as you want to.

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