Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sugar Cookies

With the holidays right around the corner, I've been wanting to make sugar cookies to decorate while listening to christmas music… it's one of my favorite things.
Unfortunately, since I'm not only a full-time employee, but also a full-time student, I literally have no time to myself anymore. This week especially, because my office is coordinating a family day this Saturday… which equals a 7-day work week plus mon-fri classes & a language class (not school related) at night. ha! Can you tell I like to keep busy? :D I'm hyperactive (personal diagnosis), so I love to be constantly doing something.
Anywho… my boss put me in charge of the cake decorating booth for family day, which also meant I needed to do some baking - double yay!!! I was so blessed to be able to work from home for 2 days, doing what I love most. 
So what did I bake? 
400 mini bundt cakes and 100 sugar cookies.
I wanted to blog about the sugar cookies since I finally found a recipe/system that kept the shape of the cookies. In the past, my cookies have always spread out a bit, even if the recipe I used swore the cut-outs would hold their shape - leaving me with puffy, fat cookies.
But I finally found the recipe I will forever stick with, all thanks to Martha Stewart.
Because I was in "work mode" I didn't remember to take many pictures for you guys :/ sorry!

Click here, or scroll to bottom, for recipe.

 First, preheat oven to 325 degrees
Then sift dry ingredients (minus sugar) together
 Mix butter and sugar together till white and fluffy
 I missed most of this part, but, add eggs and vanilla to butter/sugar, mix till fully incorporated, then add dry ingredient mix. My advice, add dry ingredients one cup at a time, and mix on low to prevent turning yourself and your kitchen into a white-wonderland. Let mix until dough pulls cleanly off the sides of the bowl.
 Divide dough into two, shape into a disk shape, wrap in cellophane. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to overnight. (I did overnight).
 When you're ready to roll out your dough, make sure to have a clean work surface. Pull out your dough and let it stand for about 10 mins. When it's soft enough to roll out, roll out the dough between cellophane/cling film. When you roll it out by dusting with flour, in my experience, the dough tends to dry out. Roll to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut out your desired shape and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Place in freezer until the cookies are hard - the freezing process helps the cookies keep their shapes will baking, rather than being "deflated" in shape by the heat. Place in oven and bake for about 18-22 minutes, or until slightly golden, but not brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or so, then place on cooling racks. Decorate to your heart's desire - unfortunately, I can't decorate these myself, saving them for the kiddos this weekend.
Hope you all love this recipe and have a wonderful weekend!!
.xoxo.

*Recipe taken from Martha Stewart*

    Ingredients
  • 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Directions
  1. STEP 1

    Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
  2. STEP 2

    Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. STEP 3

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies with a 4-inch one-piece-shaped cookie cutter. To make an ornament, cut out a hole from the center of the neck about 1/4-inch from the edge using a straw. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
  4. STEP 4

    Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.


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