What I'm Loving: Holiday Treats
Iced Sugar Cookies from Fay
One of our favorite activities during the holidays is making cookies. Chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, gingerbread--you name it, we will eat it! My family especially enjoys baking homemade sugar cookies with buttercream frosting. This is an hours-long activity that takes over our entire kitchen, but it results in good memories and really delicious cookies.
Our favorite recipe is one I found on Pinterest several years ago, created by Mirlandra Neuneker of Milandra's Kitchen. Despite the fact that I don't like almond extract, I love this recipe, so I encourage you to follow it exactly as it appears below! The fact that this recipe doesn't require chilled dough makes it especially convenient for little ones to work with. We return to this particular recipe every December and February to make our holiday and Valentine cookies.
1 cup salted butter, softened (can sub unsalted + 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Beat the butter and sugar together at medium-high speed for 1 minute.
On medium, beat in the egg, vanilla, almond extract, baking powder and salt.
Measure the flour correctly (using a spoon and leveling) and add to the mixer 1 cup at a time, beating until combined after each addition.
Don't chill the dough. Divide it into two balls and roll out to 1/4" thick on a clean piece of parchment paper using just enough flour on your rolling pin to prevent sticking. Scraps of dough can be gathered up, kneaded together until they are a uniform ball and then rolled out again. Repeat as needed using your favorite cookie cutters.
When removing cut cookie dough from the parchment paper, use a thin, flexible metal spatula. Quickly slide the spatula under each cookie and use the spatula to put the cookie on the baking sheet.
Line cookie sheets with clean parchment paper. Space out cookies on sheets with enough room to rise. Bake at 350°F. for 6-8 minutes. The cookies will not be brown at all. They will be dead white but look set. (For crisp cookies instead of soft bake, an additional 2-3 minutes until edges start to brown.)
After removing from the oven, let the cookies cool on the sheets for several minutes until firm enough to move without breaking. Use a spatula to put the cookies on a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Decorate with vanilla buttercream and store tightly covered for up to five days.
2 cups salted butter softened
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream (does not have to be heavy whipping cream)
1 Tablespoon real vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Beat butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar and beat on slow speed until incorporated. This is a good time to use a shield or throw a towel over the mixer. Otherwise, the powdered sugar flies everywhere!
Add the cream, vanilla and salt. Beat on low speed until combined and then beat on medium-high speed for two-three minutes. The frosting will be fluffy and light. Taste for salt and vanilla if desired.
Use at room temperature to frost cookies by spreading or piping. We place scoops of frosting in several bowls, add food coloring and stir. Transfer the frosting into Ziploc bags and cut the very tip of the baggie to use it as a piping bag.
Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for a month or frozen for long term storage. This stuff is always great to have around!
Toasted Coconut Macaroons from Samantha
This is a quick and easy recipe that my family makes each year. They are delicious and a unique addition to a cookie spread. It yields 18-24 macaroons.
5 1/2 cups coconut flakes (1 bag)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, combine and mix coconut flakes, flour and salt.
Add the milk, vanilla and almond and blend well using your hands.
Use the mixture to create small balls (about 2 in.) and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-13 minutes -- until the coconut is toasted.
We hope you decide to try out these cookies. They won't disappoint!
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