What do I love most about Christmas!?
BEING WITH MY FAMILY!
[photo courtesy of my sister Taylor!]
This photograph was taken after I opened a box of 5 beers during the white elephant gift exchange at my family’s Christmas party. Needless to say, I was not thrilled. Luckily I ended up with a chocolate bar and a $25 walmart gift card! Much better
But besides family time, what do I love most about Christmas?
I LOVE sugar cookies, and I found the most amazing recipe this year! The cookies are so soft and fluffy just like the lofthouse holiday cookies you can buy at the store.
Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (not butter!)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla and blend together until creamy.
With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients (I add it 1/3 at a time) mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed. You will have a very sticky dough at this point so it is very important to CHILL THE DOUGH FOR AT LEAST 1-2 HOURS. Divide the dough into two portions. Roll out one section at a time. Bake the cookies for between 10 and 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
As you can see, I had absolutely no patience for rolling out the dough and doing cutouts. I simply rolled the dough into balls like you would a normal cookies, and they turned out great! To achieve the look I gave my cookies, draw horizontal lines across the cookie. Then drag a toothpick vertically though the lines. It’s so easy, and it looks great! Also, you’ll notice the color of my frosting is very vibrant. To achieve these deep, true colors instead of pastels, use gel food coloring. I normally use Wilton brand gel food coloring which is available in the cake decorating section of wal-mart.
Speaking of frosting…
I used this recipe via Alton Brown:
- 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
And this guy helped me decorate!
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Or Happy Hanukkah! Or lovely whatever holiday you celebrate!