Part of me despises Christmas music. Let's be honest... there's some really bad material out there. The OTHER part of me embraces it privately in my apartment Jackson 5 style. Oh, and Elvis. He makes some pretty good ones.
You know what goes good with Elvis? Sugar cookies.
Christmas is still two weeks away, but it's never too early to have sugar cookies around. There are a few things that you need to make these (besides the usual butter, sugar, flour...). First, you need a sweet little helper.
Hopefully one that won't try to eat all of your beautiful creations.
You also need meringue powder. This is the trick to getting nice, stiff royal icing. You ALSO need lots of drying time. Don't try to make these and take them to a party that night. Plan ahead, ok? JEEZ.
Finally, you need a couple of cookie cutters and a rolling pin... but, you already knew that.
Recipe for Sugar Cookies
makes about 2 dozen, depending on cookie size
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Beat butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add flour, baking powder and salt and continue to mix until dough is blended.
Divide dough into two equal pieces and flatten into discs. Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour minimum.
Preheat oven to 350F. When dough is firm, remove from refrigerator and roll out on floured countertop to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut shapes with floured cutters and place on cookie sheet. Put cookie sheet in freezer for 1 minute before putting it in oven (this helps keep the shapes nice).
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to cooling rack and repeat with remaining dough and trimmings.
Now, we ice! In a mixer, beat 1 lb of powdered sugar, 1/3 cup warm water, and 3 tablespoons of meringue powder (you can find it at craft stores and some grocery stores) until you can run a knife through it and the line does not fade. This will be your stiff icing, used for borders and accents.
**SPECIAL TRICK! Try icing the flat side of the cookie (the bottom) for a more profesh look.
Once you have piped your borders, you can thin down the icing with a teaspoon or two of warm water and "flood" the cookie. You can also use this thinned down icing to ice the entire cookie with a knife .
Wait for this to dry (like 24 hours... I know) before giving them final touches with the stiffer royal icing.
Make them all different or all the same! If you want to go the extra mile, buy some sprinkles or sparkly dragee's while you at Micheal's getting your meringue powder!
Oh, and don't forget the Jackson 5 Christmas album.