Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

I am always trying new cut out cookies, while Martha's have been my favorite this recipe caught my eye.  I liked that it makes a large batch and also the lemon zest gives the cookie a  subtle fresh flavor.  These are usually a once a year venture for me, the time & mess involved can't get me to do them any more often.  I love the look of a beautiful decorated cookie but I just don't have the knack for that, so mine get a smooth coating of icing maybe a few sprinkles and they taste just as good......just not as artistic.  Found this recipe at one of my favorite sites thekitchn.com , Faith Durand has so many great recipes and so far they have all come out as expected.  Nothing worse than doing all that work and not liking the end product.  This makes a lot of cookies, an average size cookie would have given me about 8 dozen, I did have to do some large ones for fun.

Cut Out Cookies

3 c unsalted butter softened at room temp about an hour
3 c granulated sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces cream cheese room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp lemon zest
9 c flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt

In a bowl cream butter, gradually adding sugar continue till light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time mixing after each, add cream cheese and continue beating till well incorporated.  Add flavorings and lemon zest.

Mix flour, soda, salt in another bowl.  Gradually add into wet mixture until well incorporated---this is a bit of a workout till you get done.  I divided the dough evenly into 3 large ziploc bags and refrigerate the recipe says at least an hour I did mine overnight.

preheat oven to 350°

To roll out dough I divided each ziploc in half again to make it easier to work with, then rolled it out I use confectioner sugar to roll out my dough instead of flour either will work but the confectioner sugar leaves a nicer texture to the cookie.  I also bake cookies on parchment which makes the whole process go better.

After I have a cookie sheet full I put them back in the refrigerator for about 10 min to set them back up a bit.  Then bake for about 11 minutes depending on your oven.  Watch them closely as soon as you see the edge start to brown they are done.

Let cool before icing or decorating.

Royal Icing

3/4 c warm water
5 T meringue powder
mix till frothy about 30 sec.

add 1 t cream of tarter mix another 30 sec.
add 2 1/4 lbs confectioner sugar

Mix on low about 10 min.

Add more water to make thinner icing or more confectioner sugar for thicker.

Keep bowl covered as it dries out quick.

You need a really big bowl!

Parchment paper makes cookie baking so much easier.

Love my Pennsylvania cookie cutter!

These racks are stackable & work really well,
 from Pampered  Chef.

I use Meringue Powder instead of egg whites for Royal Icing.

Outlining can help icing go quicker,
but the outlining is a bit tedious for me.

Letting them dry takes a lot of counter space,
good idea to order dinner out that night.

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