Monday, December 21, 2020

Sugar cookies

The mess and multitudinal stages involved in cookie manufacturing bring a unifying sense of order and stability to a season so busy, specifically in a year like no other where extra doses of merry and bright are of dire need. The more elaborate the baking process, the greater provision of yuletide and gaiety, which, even those therapy sessions might seem insufficient to fulfill. 

Friends, today's subject was meant for such a time as this. Are you ready to take notes?

There is something quite over-the-top about an en masse of embellished sugar cookies. It stirs up an old world nostalgia as deep as the devotion to listen to uninterrupted Christmas music. Could've happened, you know, episodes of forced intervention from your grown up children to indubitably lock your Spotify account.

But tell me you get as excited as I do, stamping out snowmen of tender-rich crunch and sandy soft angels that flock in dozens. A few of of these, appropriately outfitted, alongside iconic red trucks and tied in shiny ribbon...and, hello, aren't you the Boss gift giver!?!

Perfectly executed, the simpleton of doughs can be one of the most impressive things ever. A truth life and the world of Disney princess movies never cease to remind me; the simpler/less complicated/straightforward could essentially be the better.

That being said, never underestimate the power of what butter, sugar and flour can do. Not that a few cups of base ingredients create a recipe of capacity to be passed down to people who will one day call you Grandma. Why, you simply couldn't herd all things involving such ingredients and commemorate them as heirloom, could you?

Accordingly, when Google renders exhaustive sugar cookie lists, complete with thousands of ideals comprising "bests', "perfects", "yummiest evers", you challenge yourself to try, in the least, the first ten searches among the five star tier.

However, it's a fall back blueprint I'm going to share. Not only is it ample enough for personal high teas throughout December, a batch of dough supplies generously for the half dozen friends and two immediate neighbors as well.

I don't know if it's the addition of milk in Alton Brown's version that makes the platform so versatile. Scraps reroll in ease, making beautiful clean cuts whether frozen-sliced, glass punched or cookie cutter pressed. 

It could very well be remedy for dark seasons, in particular, furnishing a spot of cheer to our pandemic weighted year.

And somewhere along the line, you'll wonder why you'd consider any other cookie anyway.

A batch is fairly easy to mix up. It freezes well and will yield a lot more than you can imagine. 

It's a truth! Visions of sugar skills come on display.

                                       Cookie platters = visual mood elevators

The trucks were something I urgently wanted to do. I made templates from cardstock and trace-cut with an X-acto.

 In adjustment of scraps/rerolling: the best way to make the most of your time and labor is have your cutters out and work as quickly as possible. The fast succession will not require as many refrigeration trips to rechill.

( Recipe adapted from Alton Brown's sugar cookie)
Sugar cookie
  • 3 cups flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup salted butter, slight chilled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk

  • Combine flour, baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to sift ingredients. Cut the butter in by tablespoons. Add sugar, egg and vanilla. Scrape dough down from the sides of the bowl, and pulse until a smooth cookie dough forms. 
  • Divide dough in half. Knead into two rectangular slabs, approximately half inch thick. Stick each slab between two large sheets of parchment and fold paper to cover sides of dough. Place in Ziploc if freezing overnight. If not, freeze in parchment for one hour.
  • Take the dough out, preheat oven to 350° F. Unfold parchment sheets and roll dough either onto the bottom parchment ( no fuss nonstick surface) or onto a floured counter  to a 1/8-1/4 inch thickness. 
  • Cut into desired shapes. Arrange cookies on parchment or silicone lined baking sheets, two inches apart.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes rotating at the half interval.
  • Take out of oven when done. Leave the cookies on the tray for 1-2 minutes. Invert onto baking rack to cool completely.
  • Serve as is or decorate with royal icing/ sprinkles.
Royal icing:
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp meringue powder
  • ¼ cup- ¾ cup room temperature water, more needed to lighter consistencies
  • ½ tsp vanilla or lemon extract
  • gel food coloring
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed, combine sugar, meringue powder and 1/4 cup water until smooth and shiny.
  • Adjust speed to high and beat until stiff shiny peaks form, approximately 5 minutes,
  • Divide in bowls and add desired amount of water to thin icing.
  • Pipe and decorate cookies.
  • Allow to harden before serving.
Bestie and I. We make good picturesšŸ¶❤️✨

2014: Baklava
"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?" Psalm 8:3-4


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!