Weekend Cooking: 2010 Baking Marathon
This weekend, I’m participating in Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking Challenge. You’ll find the Sugar Cookie recipe at the end of this post.
My sister hosted me in her home and kitchen this weekend for our first annual Christmas Cookie Bake-athon. We had so much fun baking, chatting, and teasing each other. I grumbled about her persnickety cookie decorating and sizing rules, and she mocked me for my inability to double or triple recipes without the help of my fingers, paper, and a pencil. After much struggling on my part, I managed to triple the following recipe to yield about 100 cookies. When it came to prepare the cookies for baking, my sister pulled out her secret weapon: a Waterford cut crystal salt shaker.
A few years ago, my sister hit upon the idea of using the bottom of the salt shaker as a cookie press. Martha Stewart would be appalled.
By pressing the bottom of the shaker on to the rounded (uncooked) dough balls, it flattens them and adds a snowflake-like pattern to the top. After baking the cookies, she dusts them with sanding sugar which gives them a crystal, sparkly effect.
Between baking dozens of cookies in many varieties, we also managed to squeeze in a Christmas craft–gumdrop trees. We started with several bags of spiced gum drops, a glue gun, and styrofoam cones.
In between pulling trays of hot cookies out of the oven, we glued the drops on to the cone.
After two hours of gluing, giggling, and singing along with Christmas music, we finished!
And that’s how I spent my last weekend before Christmas, 2010.
Best Butter Cookie Recipe
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup softened (NOT MELTED) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
decorator or sanding sugar
Preheat oven to 400F. Combine granulated sugar, butter, and egg in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT for decorating/sanding sugar. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Shape cold dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper or ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with bottom of a drinking glass (or cut crystal salt shaker) dipped in sugar. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Yields approximately 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!