Welcome to my newest addition to the blog, Baking With Jessica. I am excited to share recipes and how-tos that will help you become a more confident baker. I decided to start with a classic everyone should have up their sleeves especially this time of year when cookie baking season is upon us.
All of my Christmas cookies are the recipes from my childhood. I’m pretty sure this sugar cookie recipe came from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook with the red and white checkered cover.
You will need the following:
2/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp almond extract – it actually calls for vanilla but I prefer almond for my sugar cookies
4 tsp milk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or hand mixer or by hand) cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy.
2. Scrape the sides of you mixing bowl and add the egg and extract.
3. Scrape down the sides again and add your baking powder, salt and flour.
4. Again, scrape the bowl and add in the milk. Make sure your dough comes together. If it’s still too dry you can add a tiny bit more milk until it’s no longer crumbly.
5. Wrap dough and refrigerate for at least an hour before baking. You can also freeze it if you want to make it ahead but you will have to thaw it for a day before baking.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Flour your counter top and roll out dough to around 1/8 inch thick. Cut out with your choice of cookie cutters and place on a ungreased cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 9 minutes or until set. These shouldn’t turn brown like if you were to make these with butter. They will start to look ‘dry’ not moist on the tops.
8. Cool on a cooling rack completely before icing. I tend to bake one day and ice the next day.
To make the royal icing:
2 T corn syrup
2 T milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Food coloring of your choice
1. Whisk together the corn syrup, milk and extract until smooth.
2. Whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth
3. Add food coloring to your preference.
4. Add icing to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip and outline the cookie. Let that set for a few minutes and then flood the cookie with icing. If needed use a tooth pick or knife to spread evenly. *See video
5. Let set at least ten minutes before adding any details on top of your base layer of icing.
6. Let set out to dry before stacking into airtight containers.
Don’t do what I did and realize afterwards that you are not an artist and can’t make gingerbread people look cute. This is why people got trees and not people!
What recipes would you like me to share next?