*** This recipe was originally posted on The Good Egg blog in December, 2007.
I finally ordered my own copy of “Rose’s Christmas Cookies” from Chapters. The Rose in question is Rose LevyBeranbaum, author of “The Cake Bible” and “The Pie & Pastry Bible”. I have taken this book out of my local library several times in the last few years, always thinking that someday I should get my own. I love her recipes and she is so thorough that you can’t help being a success in the kitchen.
Of course there are lots of recipes for sugar cookies out there. I have used many different sugar cookie recipes over the years, looking for a tried and true recipe that I could call my favourite. I believe that this one is it.
The icing is very simple and it comes from another excellent cookbook called “Great Cookies” by Carole Walter. This week, most likely inspired by the posting of “Moira’s Favourite Things”, I made a trip to Escoffier Restaurant Supply in St. Catharines. Along with a few other well thought out purchases, I bought some new food colouring. It is called “Spectrum Gel Food Colour”. As you can see from the picture, the colours are vivid and really pretty. I only bought four and they are; avocado, egg yellow, soft pink, and sky blue. The colours look just like their names. I have read that gel or paste food colouring results in nicer colours and I would say that I agree.
While we were at Escoffier, the kids found a big display of cookie cutters. I told them that they could each pick one cookie cutter as a treat. They looked over the choices and when we got to the counter to pay, I told them to give the lady their cookie cutters. Out of at least a hundred different cookie cutters, many of them Christmas-themed and really cool looking, they both chose hearts. I guess we’ll be making these for Valentine’s Day, too!
Christmas Sugar Cookies
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter (or 12 tablespoons), softened to room temperature
1 large egg
1 t. pure vanilla
In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended. (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment)
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until they come together.
Add water, a few drops at a time, only until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and form the dough into a round, flat disc. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least two hours. If yourefrigerate the dough longer, you will have to pull the dough out and let it soften up before you start to roll it.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness (pretty thin; I think the thinner cookies that brown a little around the edges taste better). Cut shapes using your favourite cookie cutters. This dough works fine if you re-roll the scraps. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the cookies start to turn golden brown around the edges. Transfercookies to wire racks to cool before icing them.
Apparently, these cookies will keep for “months” in an air-tight container. I’ll be lucky if we have ours around for more than a day or two!
2 c. sifted icing sugar
2-3 T. hot milk or hot water (plus more if needed)
1 T. light corn syrup
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Place the icing sugar in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir with a whisk or spoon until very smooth. The glaze should pour off the spoon in streamers. Use additional milk sparingly. A little bit goes a long way. I divided the glaze into four small bowls and added a small squeeze of food colouring. Popsicle sticks and toothpicks make great tools for the kids to decorate with.
*During the process of icing the cookies, there were a few tears, a number of squabbles , and the green icing bowl broken into four pieces on our stone floor. Amazingly, I can’t wait to bake cookies again soon!