It’s that time of year again, when people bust out their best holiday treats. You may or may not know that I am not much of a baker but a few year’s ago my friend Susan shared with me the magical ways of the sugar cookie, and I was hooked.
Every time I share a photo on Instagram, I get asked for the recipe and while I’ve posted about it before, I’m sharing it again today in the spirit of Christmas cookies.
Here is the original post, which will give you a few more details about my process. Enjoy! And happy baking.
(I got the adorable Christmas bulb cutter here.)
I know what you’re thinking. They are the very essence of cookie perfection. How could a self-proclaimed non-baker like myself achieve such a high level of excellence? Two things. First, Susan’s killer recipe and loving guidance, and second, a little life-changing gadget called The Cookie Thing.
The Cookie Thing has one purpose: to help you roll out perfectly even dough in the thickness of your choosing. That’s it. Susan simply uses 5/16″ dowels from the craft store to achieve the same end. True, they are much cheaper than The Cookie Thing, but some of us are suckers for a well-designed product. Either way, you roll out dough kind of like this:
If you want to see this thing in action, watch this, made by The Cookie Thing’s creator. (This was the video that made me click BUY.)
Note: I used the second smallest of the slats to make my cookies. I always think I should go up to the next depth of slat. But nope, it’s that second to narrowest slat that works like a charm. It measures 4/16, for those who are curious.
Next you need to have the tools of the trade. Now I ain’t gonna lie. My KitchenAid stand mixer makes the process so much more do-able. I have bird wrists. I’m not a good by-hand mixer kind of gal.
But for achieving that smooth, flooded cookie look you need to have the following:
I had to look up how to put the bags together on the YouTube. (This video is helpful, if this concept is new to you.)
So now that you have all the tools and you’re ready to go, how ’bout I give you the recipe?
HERE YOU GO: SugarCookieAndIcingRecipe
Susan covers pretty much all you need to know in the PDF because she’s nothing if not detailed. A few extra things to note:
• When I make this cookie recipe, I halve it and make a double batch. Twice. As much as I love my mixer, it has a harder time handling the full 6 cups of flour the recipe calls for. I much prefer to make a half batch, roll out the dough, pop it into the fridge to chill and then tackle batch no. 2. Yes, it makes for more clean up (I start each batch with a clean mixer bowl and paddle) but it’s easier for me to manage.
• I prefer to roll out the dough using parchment paper versus wax paper. It’s less apt to stick to the dough.
• Susan’s icing recipe calls for almond extract, but I always flavor with vanilla. It’s a personal taste. I can’t stand the taste of almond extract in anything, though I adore almonds. Go figure.
• In the icing recipe, Susan divides her icing while it is still thick, then adds water to each bowl as she goes. I tend to get my icing a bit more fluid before I divide and conquer. So I add successive tablespoons of water to the mixer until it gets a bit thinner. The danger is that you’ll get it too runny, which you don’t want. I find the icing making stage is the most tedious. Both from getting the consistency right to getting the colors right. It takes time and if you get it too runny, you can always add more powdered sugar. Susan has a great tip for the right consistency in the PDF.
• Tie off your pastry bags very tightly. What has happened to me on numerous occasions is that I’m so focused on piping on that frosting, I don’t notice that I’m squeezing it up and out of the bag. And yes, that’s a messy clean up.
• Lastly, have fun. Experiment. Make mistakes and practice. Making cookies with Aidan is such a joy, especially on the holidays, so get a partner to help and have at it. And as Susan points out in the PDF, even if you mess up, you still have something that tastes amazing and you can eat the evidence.
It’s a total set up. You put wet paper towels in glasses to keep the icing from caking up and you get to work. We keep toothpicks handy to create fun designs. Susan explains how to do that in the PDF. It’s truly an all-day affair. I like to make the cookies the night before, and get to frosting the next day.
Of course, the best part about all of this is that if you like sugar cookies, you are going to love how they taste. Seriously.
Enjoy! And thanks to Susan for sharing this wonderful recipe and being my cookie making mentor.
You make me look good.
If you live in the Gilbert, Arizona-area (or anywhere in the Valley), you can actually take cookie-making classes with Susan K., my Obi Wan Kenobi of cookie making. Email Susan if you want more info! True story: years ago she won a scrapbooking contest and me and Ali Edwards came to her house for a crop party. And yes, a good time was had by all.