Pour Some Sugar On Me
There are still some days left from the winter break, and if the weather is too dreary to go out, the best thing to do inside is to bake together. Sugar cookies are especially fun for this, as they are quick and easy to assemble, and a variety of cookie cutters and decorations make it a great time for everyone. Frosted or not, with or without sprinkles, these sugar cookies are a great way to spend a winter afternoon with the family.
For a well-sized batch (30 or so cookies with large cutters, even more with smaller ones), start with creaming together 3/4 c of soft butter with 1 cup of white sugar. It resembles snowflakes, doesn’t it?
Once they are well combined, beat in 2 whole eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or almond flavoring – I bet it would also be quite tasty with coconut, maybe lemon or orange, too! Get the ingredients well combined again, scraping the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed.
Now come the dry ingredients: 2-1/2 cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of salt. Did you know that putting a pinch of salt in anything sweet and a pinch of sugar into anything salty will make the flavors “pop” more?
Stir in the dry ingredients with a spatula or with your hands – the warmth from your hands can be especially useful if your kitchen and/or butter is cold, and needs a little more to grab a hold of the dry ingredients. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least an hour, or even overnight.
Once the dough has rested, roll it out on a floured board. I like my cookies thin and crispy, so I rolled them about 1/8″ thick – for a chewier cookie, roll them closer to 1/4″ or even thicker. In the meantime, start preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Out come the cookie cutters – let everyone choose their favorites, do a theme, or just let hilarity ensue. Cut the cookies, then bunch up the leftover dough. Give it a fast knead – just a stroke or two will do – then roll it out again; and again and again, depending on how well you manage space.
If you plan to only use sprinkles or nuts, add them now, so they set into the cookies as they bake. Place the cookies on a parchment- or wax paper-lined cookie sheet, and once the oven is heated up, put them in. Keep a close eye on the time: they only take 4-6 minutes to bake! Once they come out, cool them on a wire rack: this prevents them from overbaking from the heat stored in the cookie sheet.
If you want to frost the cookies, a quick and easy frosting recipe is to mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with about a tablespoon of milk. You can add any type of food coloring to this frosting for a more colorful look, or just keep it plain white. Use a knife or spatula to spread it on, then add sprinkles and toppings to your hearts’ delight.
A big batch of these cookies, along with some hot cocoa and a good movie make a perfect afternoon in!
Enjoy your meal!