Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Schools. Out. For...Thanksgiving (Sugar Cookies)

Finally, finally, finally, a break. Classes finished up for me yesterday and what did I do when I got home? I started baking.

My friend Amanda. was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma about a month and a half ago. I've known her since my freshmen year here and she's dating my old roommate, Eric. She even lived with us last summer. When we all found out about her diagnoses, we jumped into action and came up with a schedule for sending her goodies around her chemo days. So, every three weeks one of us sends her something. Adrienne went all out the first time and sent magazines, a fleece blanket, some candy and a nerf gun. Christine was last time, and now it's my turn. Last night I spent pretty much the entire night making sugar cookies. They're pretty bland so I frosted them and hopefully none of these will make her sick.

I used to mix cookies with a hand mixer. Unfortunately, it's a pain in the bum. When Molly moved out last summer (and took all of her nifty cooking things with her) I had to figure out what to do. I did buy a hand mixer, but before I did that, I used my food processor for mixing up cookies. I don't know how I lived before that. It's as easy as throwing everything into the bowl and hitting go until it looks like dough. SUPER SIMPLE! In 5 minutes I had cookie dough and about an hour and a half later I was rolling them out. I got to do some cleaning in between.

Once the dough was chilled, I rolled the cookie out on the tiny table in my kitchen. My favorite cookie size is shot glass sized. I made sugar cookies last summer and was without a cookie cutter. Inspiration struck as I was going through the cupboards and I stumbled upon our collection of shotglasses. The little tiny cookies bake super quickly and are the perfect snacking size. The first time I made them I spooned some lemon glazing on them. My friend Chris who was over that night demolished about a quarter of the cookies. Last night I frosted them with regular vanilla frosting from a jar. I put a big dollop in a small pan and put it on the burner on really low heat. I added a few drops of food coloring and waited until it got liquidy. Then, you can take your cookies and dip them in the frosting. You'll get a super flat frosting that is easy to decorate. Once the baking was done (and Alex had gotten some of the mountain of dishes done) I got to decorate. I happened to look at the clock and it was already about 10. Eek! Where did all the time go? I had saved some of the white frosting and put it in a snack back, then clipped off the tip so I could pipe things on it. There are a lot of smiley faces, a few block M's, Amanda's name spelled out, flowers, shapes, etc. Good times. I promised Alex a cookie when he got home from dinner with his girlfriend so I made a Japanese emoticon on his cookie and it was devoured pretty quickly. Unfortunately, Jess can't have anything with milk or milk products in it so no cookies for her. Now all that is left to do is box them up and send them off to Grand Rapids.

Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder

Combine 1 cup butter, sugar and egg in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining cookie ingredients. Beat until well mixed. Divide dough into thirds; wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).

Heat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one-third at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 2-inch cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.Bake for 6 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheets. Cool completely.

If you don't want to frost the cookies, here is the recipe for the lemon glazing I used. It's nice for the summer. I tried it with key lime once (when I was on my key lime pie kick), but wasn't as excited.

2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon rind

Whisk everything together and spoon onto cookies. It'll harden up after a few minutes.

I don't always put the rind in and it tastes good anyways.

I actually took pictures last night! But I'm at work and I haven't uploaded the pictures to my computer. Tomorrow I'm making another upside down apple pie so there will be pictures of that and I'm also trying pumpkin scones for breakfast.

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