Sunday, December 15, 2013

Foundation Sugar Cookie Recipe

Ever since I can remember, decorating Christmas sugar cookies has been a tradition in my home every December. My brother, sister & I would sit at the table with mom (& sometimes dad), to make the best & most incredible edible holiday mess in history. It was a lot of work for my mother to pull off this event every year. It was an all-afternoon affair. I know this, because about 10 years ago I started this tradition with my own kids. My mother has passed the sugar cookie baking torch on to me. Zoey & Pazely look forward to it every Christmas. And I hope they build equally fond memories of our times together. If you want to know the truth, I say the same things to them every year: 
Don't lick your fingers! 
Stop eating the sprinkles! 
Pazely, HOW did you get nonpareils up your nose? 
Don't you dare run away—we have TONS of cookies left to decorate! 

This year, Pazely created her traditional "Overload" cookie, where she piles every color of frosting & every kind of sprinkle onto one cookie. It's a special cookie JUST for her. 
And we had a few new nutty entries: Zoey created a corpse-like gingerbread man, complete with "X" eyes. And Pazely kept referring to the dove cookie cutter as a pigeon.
*Those girls.*

I think I had it in my brain that this recipe was from grandmother. But, in fact, it is from a recipe book that my mother & father received as a wedding present 45 years ago: The Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook, 1968. 

This recipe makes a delicious sugar cookie that is not overly sweet. The sweetness comes from the frosting you choose to use. The recipe I use for frosting is the Betty Crocker Powdered Sugar Glaze. But then I add butter to it & make it a consistency that is a bit more thick, &less of a drizzly glaze. If it tastes too much like powdered sugar, I'll add more vanilla. I know, I'm all over the place here. One of these days I really should measure it all out & be more scientific about it.

1 C shortening
2 C sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
5 1/2 C flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder

(Makes 168 two-inch cookies.)

1. Cream shortening. Add sugar gradually & cream well.
2. Add milk & vanilla to beaten eggs.
3. Stir all dry ingredients together & add alternately with the liquid ingredients to the creamed mixture.
4. Chill dough.
5. Roll out small portions of dough at a time to 1/4" thickness on a floured pastry cloth. Keep remaining dough in the refrigerator & save all the scraps after cutting for the final rolling so that the dough does not become overworked.
6. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes. (Ovens may vary! My oven bakes these cookies in 9 minutes!)

Click HERE for a printable recipe.

(I'm new to this "printable recipe" thing. The link will take you to a shared file I created in Google Documents for the 4"x6" recipe card pictured. I'm sure there's another way to do this. I've seen some cool printable recipe options on other blogs, but I'm not quite cool enough to have figured out those saavy techniques. If you have any pointers, let me know!)

Happy baking!

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