Sunday, December 24, 2017

Decorated Sugar Cookies


The last Christmas cookies we made this year was the decorated sugar cookies.  We make these every year, and my mom, sister, and me decorate them together.  They're lotsa fun to make (and eat!)


We use the sugar cookie recipe from from Betty Crocker's Cookbook and the Buttercream icing recipe from The Wilton School's Decorating Cakes.


Ingredients:
  • Sugar Cookies
    • 3/4 cup butter
    • 3/4 cup shortening
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 5 cups flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 2 tsp. salt
  • Frosting
    • 1 cup shortening
    • 1 cup butter
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 8 cups sifted powdered sugar
    • 4 tbsp. milk
    • food coloring
    • optional: sprinkles, chocolate chips, marshmallows, red hots, mini M&Ms, etc.


Thoroughly mix the shortening, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract.


Gradually blend in the flour, baking powder, and salt.


Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour.


Roll the dough 1/8-inch thick on a lightly-floured surface.


Cut the dough into your desired shapes using cookie cutters.  Place the cookies on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.


Bake at 400ºF for 6 minutes.


Next you need to make the buttercream frosting.


Cream the butter and shortening in a mixer.  Add the vanilla.


Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.


Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl when needed. The frosting should appear dry.


Add the milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.


Divide the frosting and add food coloring.  We use Wilton's food coloring.


Stir in the coloring.


Now it's time to decorate!  Frost the cookies and add sprinkles, chocolate chips, M&Ms, coconut - whatever you like.


Here's all the cookies we made this year.


Hope you enjoyed seeing our Christmas baking.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Pecan Paulines


Yesterday I made Pecan Paulines (the recipe we use comes from my Great Aunt Polly).  These are basically like pecan pralines on top of a cookie.  These are really tasty!


Ingredients:
  • Cookies
    • 1  2/3 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp. maple flavoring
    • 1 cup pecans
  • Praline Frosting
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp. corn syrup
    • 4 tbsp. water
    • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Yield: 32 cookies


Cream the butter.


Gradually add the brown sugar, creaming well.


Mix in the egg, vanilla, and maple flavoring. Beat well.


Gradually add the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Make sure the dough is thoroughly blended.


Shape the dough into an 8-inch roll.  It should be approximately 2 inches in diameter.


Wrap the dough in wax paper (or aluminum foil) and chill for at least 4 hours.  I just put it in the fridge overnight.



Chop or break the pecans into small pieces (about 4 pieces per pecan).


Cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.


Press 4 or 5 pecan pieces onto each cookie.  Bake at 350ºF for 8 minutes.


To make the praline frosting, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tbsp. water in a saucepan.


Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.


Blend in the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp. water.  Mix until smooth.


If necessary, add a few drops of water until it becomes the consistency of a glaze.


Drizzle the cookies with the praline frosting.


Enjoy!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sandies


We make sandies every year - they're also called Mexican wedding cakes and Russian teacakes, among other things.  There's lots of different recipes for them, but my mom found that this one from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookies Cookies Cookies book works best - the cookies don't crumble at all.


The recipe is called Honey Sand Balls.  We substitute pecans for the walnuts.


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • sifted powdered sugar
Yield: approximately 48 cookies



Begin by chopping the pecans (I used a blender attachment).


Beat the butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and honey with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.


Beat in the flour, pecans, vanilla, and salt.


Mix thoroughly.


Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.


Bake at 325ºF for 14 minutes. The cookies should be lightly browned.


While the cookies are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar.


Cool on a wire rack and roll cookies in the powdered sugar again.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Spritz Cookies


Another one of the cookies we make every Christmas is spritz.  These light, buttery cookies are really tasty.  You need a cookie press to make these - Wilton makes a pretty good one and so do some other brands.


Ingredients:
  • 1 pound butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 extra egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • optional: food coloring (if you use food coloring, be sure to use the paste (or gel) kind - the liquid can mess up the recipe.  We use Wilton's, and it works well.)


Cream the butter in a mixer.


Add the sugar and blend.


Add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt and mix.


Gradually add the flour while mixing.


You can add some food coloring if you want to - we used red . . .


and green!


Use the cookie press to form your designs.  Press the cookies onto an unlined cookie sheet.


Bake at 350ºF for 13 minutes.


Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.


Enjoy and be sure to give your baking supervisor(s) a little taste too!