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December 19, 2011

Christmas Cut Outs

I love to bake. I wouldn't say that I am a great baker by any means, but I enjoy it. Every year I find myself looking for the perfect cut out cookie recipe. I dislike puffy cut out cookies, I don't like overly soft ones, I prefer them to not be thin and crunchy. I have tried recipes that use sour cream, no eggs, powdered sugar, and a multitude of other odd ball ingredients. Every year I try something new. Until next year.

I finally found a recipe I love and I will never ever ever ever make any other sugar cookies again. Ever. Swear. I got this recipe from here, thank you Pioneer woman. I modified it somewhat by removing the citrus zest. I did not make the glaze for these, but rather opted for a different glaze recipe that I basically made up on my own. I'll fill you in below. Did I mention how amazing these are? I don't even like sugar cookies as a rule and I ate a whole bunch of these. Even better, this recipe makes about 1 dozen, which is perfect since there are just two of us. 

Creamed the shortening, sugar and vanilla....

Add milk...

Add dry ingredients and mix well....

Ball the dough and wrap it in wax paper...

Pop in the freezer, watch a half hour of Chopped, take out and roll.......

Then comes the fun part...use your cookie cutters (I have over 100 thanks to my sister, great gift ;))...


While your cookies are cooling, make frosting. I wanted to try something new this year so I made an icing, which I have never really done before. Here is the recipe I used, 
1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 TBSP of milk, 2 TBSP of corn syrup, 1/2 tsp almond extract. I mixed the powdered sugar and milk together, then added the corn syrup and almost. Finally, I divided it into separate bowls and added food coloring. 

Two things with the food coloring. First, I did not realize how much less food coloring would be necessary for icing vs. frosting. I always dislike the washed out colors that you get when you color frosting, so I added a lot of color to the icing. As you will see, it was plenty. My blue is blue. Like, navy blue. So, be aware. Second, I got to the red and realized I had only like four drops of red. I even cut the bottle open and squeezed every last little bitty fleck of red out, but my icing was just a dull pink. Yuck. Mixing all my beautiful bright colors with a pepto-pink red frosting would not have been good. 

Time for a brainstorm. Brace yourselves people. After scrounging through my baking cabinet I decided to use red kool aid for color. It worked magically. Ten points for me. I added about half the packet of cherry flavored kool aid to the icing and mixed it in. I got a great red color. The catch, as you may have guessed, is that my red frosting has a distinct tart cherry flavor to it. Oh well, the price we pay for beauty. 

I think they look super. Even better, they taste super. Like I said, I will not be experimenting with a cookie recipe any more. These were as close to perfect as I could have asked for. Maybe I will play around with the frosting/icing next year instead. 

I'm so glad my cookie baking is almost over. I'll be back again this week with one more recipe for holiday baking. 

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