Friday, August 8, 2014

Sugar Cookies

Christmas time isn't the only occasion for a crisp, light, frosted sugar cookie. Turn that cut-out Santa into an ice cream cone and you have the perfect summer time cookie treat.
Today's fun in the kitchen goes back to the basics and what could be more basic than a sugar cookie? The ingredients are simple but the result, when done correctly, is perfection. The wrong kind of sugar can create a dense, heavy cookie. Too much flour and the cookies won't crisp. And if the icing is too thick or too sweet the cookies will leave the taster with a mouth full of sticky sugar. One cookie will be one too much.
But when the classic cut-out sugar cookie is baked to a golden brown with a slight crisp along the edges and then topped with the perfectly sweet and light icing, cookie perfection is attained. That classic, unadorned cookie can't be beat.

My Mom has always instructed me to find one particular kind of sugar cookie recipe. She doesn't have a go-to recipe to hand down on a worn and tattered index card but she still manages to direct my sugar cookie recipe selection. Go for the confectioner's sugar. With that advice as my guide I bring you this cookie recipe from AllRecipes ( I followed it precisely, chilling the dough for about two hours. The dough was easy to work with, didn't crumble and didn't feel overly sticky.
After about seven minutes in the oven at convect 350 my cookies were a perfect golden brown - crisp edges and not too puffy. I topped them with a simple icing of about two cups confectioners sugar with two tablespoons milk and one teaspoon vanilla. Those measurements are just an estimate. I didn't measure. I used the instincts of my inner baker to guide my icing preparation.
Of course, the best part of baking sugar cookies is the fun of decorating them with assorted colors and little sprinkles. Mom and I used our not-so-professional tools of toothpicks and small butter knives to put the finishing touches on my crispy treats.
The exciting verdict is that these cookies turned out tasting as good as they look. So that makes them cute and delicious, the perfect cookie combination!
Today's baking foray was a success and a great reminder of not only a basic cookie recipe, but a basic principle in life: Mom knows best. Whether it is choosing a recipe in the kitchen or putting together the recipe of life, my Mom is my most trusted guide and constant voice of wisdom. Where would my baking be without her?

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