Friday, February 12, 2016

Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

I wouldn't consider myself a baker for several reasons. For starters, the whole precise measuring and weighing ingredients thing is a little intense for me!  Also, baking requires planning and thought, like leaving the butter, eggs, and milk out ahead of time to get to room temperature. By the time I decide to tackle a baking project...I'm stuck with cold ingredients! One of the main reasons I like to limit my baking exposure is that I have a huge sweet tooth and will eat ALL of the baked goods! Sean loves candy and could take or leave a baked treat but me? Zero self control! The only time I bake is if I have a plan to shell out the goods to family and friends.

Okay, enough about me, let's talk about my sister Meghan for a second. She loves to bake (has self control) and is seriously talented! She didn't go to school for baking but has always had a natural knack for it. She has been making these sugar cookies for years now and I'm not even sure how she's cracked the cookie code but she has! She makes them for every holiday and special occasions like bridal/baby showers. These are perfect for cut-outs because they don't spread when they bake, not to mention they taste utterly irresistible. Although she won't give us her royal icing recipe, she's given us similar ones (links below). Nonetheless, I'm here to share the cookie recipe (hers!) and a couple royal icing recipes that are similar! These cookies are soft, buttery, melt-in-your mouth, delights and her icing is glossy and pure perfection. Thanks sister :)

Meghan's Sugar Cookies
You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla (use a good one!)
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl fitted with a mixer (or large bowl with hand mixers) beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients (slowly!) until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap (or large ziplock) and combine into 2 disks and set in the fridge to firm up for at least 2 hours.

Flour your counter top generously and roll the dough out evenly, a little thicker than 1/4 in. thickness. (I think that's the secret for how soft they are!) Cut out your desired shapes and place on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes (my x's browned at 10 minutes but my hearts were perfect) until the bottom is lightly golden.
They don't get color on top-so don't wait for that golden brown color anywhere except the bottom. You don't want brown edges here!
Let cool on a wire rack and decorate once they are cool!
See that one tiny heart with browned edges? I had to eat that one as a tester since it didn't make the visual cut! Baking is a tough job but someone has to eat the mistakes! :)

Royal Icing Recipes:
Spoonful of Flavor
I heart nap time-Love the step-by-step instructions and pictures!
Sweet Sugarbelle

This is the cookie pro in action! Please excuse our handwriting...
Happy baking!

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