Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sugar Cookies

I hesitate to call these Christmas cookies even though the recipe is from a very old Martha Stewart Christmas book, and they're decorated with red and green icing and red and green sprinkles, and we did make and eat them on Christmas...because they're really just sugar cookies. Don't limit them to winter holidays - egg shaped cookies with pastel colored icing for Easter, shamrocks with green sprinkles for St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day, President's Day, the third Tuesday of every get the point. A good cookie is a good cookie and should be enjoyed all year round.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar (recipe calls for granulated, but I used what I believe was non-granulated cane sugar and it was fine)
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the butter mixture and beat well. Add the egg, brandy, and vanilla and beat again until well mixed. Shape dough into two flattened rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. and line baking sheets with parchment. On a well floured board, roll out dough until 1/8 inch thick. Cut into shapes and set 1 to 2 inches apart on sheets. Leftover dough can be rolled out and cut once more. Bake for about 10 minutes; do not allow cookies to brown.

Royal Icing

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 large egg white
food coloring

Mix the sugar and egg white; divide among small bowls and tint each a different color. Spread onto cooled cookies.

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