As we begin to crave all the delicious sweets of the holiday season, Sewickley Academy parent, baker, cook, and blogger Deanna Clouse shares her simple and yummy sugar cookie and icing recipies below. You can find more of Deanna's recipes at her blog, marzipanmom.blogspot.com.
Sugar Cookies Recipe
Makes about one dozen large or two dozen small cut-out cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
14 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 6 tablespoons), softened to cool room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least four hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper.
Break the chilled dough into three to four pieces. Flatten each piece, then knead them all together slightly to make the dough malleable. Shape the dough into a flattened circle. Dust your work surface liberally with flour. Sprinkle the dough with more flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick or desired thickness. Carefully lift the dough and add a bit more flour underneath and on top if the dough gets sticky.
Cut out cookies into desired shapes. Transfer the cookies to prepared cookie sheets with a thin metal spatula, leaving an inch between cookies. Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (this keeps the cookies from spreading during baking), then bake the cookies for about 10-15 minutes, or until firm and beginning to brown around the edges. Let the cookies cool for five minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Royal Icing Recipe
2 large fresh egg whites, or equivalent amount of pasteurized egg whites from a carton
2 tsp fresh lemon juice, strained
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add lemon juice and beat to combine. Add the confectioners sugar and beat on low speed for one minute, then on medium-high speed for about six to seven minutes or until the icing forms medium to stiff peaks. Place in an airtight container until ready to use. Use within one day or refrigerate and use within three days (bring icing to room temperature before using). Add food coloring if desired. If icing is too thick, you may add a few drops of water at a time and stir to reach desired consistency. Allow the icing to dry completely (overnight is great) before storing the cookies in an airtight container.