Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Recipe #9: Paula's (Monogram!) Sugar Cookies

Nothing says Christmas quite like Sugar Cookies!
I have this one aunt who makes ALL of her Christmas gifts (and she can get away with it because she actually has talent in the medium of her gifts- Not saying you shouldn't make all your gifts, but in the spirit of the holiday, if you can't cook, don't bake cookies that can kill =] ). One year she made me a wonderful nightgown and matching "floppsie" hat (kind of like the Santa Klaus' hat) and I loved it. But for the most part, she sticks with giving away tins of homemade cookies, and I always peck around my relatives bags, scourging for the sugar cookies! 
I am taking a the lead from her and thinking about doing this myself this year. But to spice it up, 
I am going to take a page from my beloved Paula Deen's cook book and MONOGRAM the cookies. How smart is that! Will really give a personalized touch to the gift and be delicious all at the same time!
Paula's Monogram Sugar Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Royal Icing, recipe follows
In a bowl, cream together the sugar and butter, then mix in the egg and vanilla and almond extracts. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and cream of tarter; mix the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, then cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide the chilled dough in half and roll it out on a lightly floured pastry cloth to a 1/4-inch thickness. Lightly grease some baking sheets. Cut the dough with a floured cookie cutter; sprinkle with sugar. Transfer the cookies to the prepared sheets and bake for 9 minutes.

Ingredients (for Royal Icing):
  • *3 egg whites
  • 1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring, optional
In a medium bowl, combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tarter. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Increase mixer speed to high, and beat 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture holds a peak. Cover with a damp cloth when not in use. Separate into bowls and add food coloring, if desired.

**Food Network Kitchens (and me, too! don't want your illness on my hands!! LOL) suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.
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