Introduction: Beautiful Sugar Cookies
This instructable will guide you through the making of perfectly delicious sugar cookies. These cookies both look stunning and taste great. Most sugar cookie recipes fail to impress, however this perfect blend ends up moist and fluffy every time. These make great gifts or a fun afternoon for the family.
Step 1: Make the Dough and Glaze
Ingredients for dough:
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for glaze:
water or lemon juice
Cream together the room temperature butter with the sugar until smooth and fluffy. Slowly add in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl whist the dry ingredients then add them slowly into the butter/sugar mixture until incorporated. Chill the dough until firm (an hour or so).
This dough can be made well in advance and frozen until needed. I am a teacher so I prepared this when I had time to over thanksgiving break to get ready for the christmas holiday.
Step 2: Rollin the Dough
Roll the dough out between two sheets of wax paper. Parchment paper works, however it doesn't seem to stick as much on the wax paper. Cut out any shapes you'd like and try to bake like sized cookies along with like sized cookies. Most cookie shapes take about 6-8 minutes in my oven, however all ovens will differ. Bake until lightly browned on the bottoms and let cool for 2 minutes before removing them from the pan.
Helpful tip: To get perfectly uniform cookies use 1/4 inch wooden dowels to roll your dough out on or purchase some rolling pin spacers. I spent fifty cents on the dowel rods which work wonderfully.
Step 3: Glazing the Cookies
Fill a bowl up with 2-3 cups of powdered sugar and add in about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix in warm water (4-5 tablespoons) until the powdered sugar comes together to a consistency that is firm yet runny. The consistency of your icing can be adjusted by adding more powdered sugar or water at any time. Use gel food coloring to mix in color into small bowls of your prepared icing. Be creative and use your imagination. To glaze the cookies just dip them in runny frosting and drip off any excess on a cookie sheet. For more intricate designs outline your cookies with thicker borders, then flood them with runny icing. I have included pictures of many different designs I came up with this year. In particular I was very pleased with my leopard print hippos. Directions are on the individual photos.
Step 4: Drying and Packaging
Let the cookies sit out to air dry for about 12 hours. Do not worry, the cookies will not go stale but you need to do this so that the icing sets and will not crack when stacking the cookies. Wrap the cookies individually or place in a tin. The cookies stay very fresh for about a week or you can freeze them if making ahead of time.
I bought boxes at the local hobby lobby/ christmas tree store with a nice window up top to showcase the cookies. Each box is a gift for one of my relatives.