Happy Valentine's Day! I know it's probably too late to whip up a batch of these sugar cookies for your loved ones today, but I thought I would still share the recipe for upcoming holidays like Easter and St. Patrick's Day. I had been eager to use my heart cookie cutters, so I set out to find the perfect sugar cookie recipe on the Internet. Turns out, I just needed to call my sister. She recommended this Cook's Illustrated recipe to me and I knew it had to be good. I used a vanilla butter frosting and gel paste food color (from Michael's) to tint the frosting pink for Valentine's day. Even though sugar cookies can be a little time consuming to make and decorate, they will be well worth it when my husband and I are eating them for dessert tonight! Have a wonderful day with your loved ones!
Rolled Butter Cookies (Sugar Cookies)
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar processed in food processor for 30 seconds)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg, plus 1 yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
1. With an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes wth mixer set at medium speed. Add yolk and beat well. Then add whole egg and vanilla. Continue beating until well incorporated. Add flour and beat at low speed until flour is just mixed in. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (Can be refrigerated up to 2 days or double-wrapped and frozen for 1 month.)
2. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove on disk of dough from refrigerator and cut in half. Return unused portion of dough to refrigerator until ready to use.
3. Lightly flour work surface; roll dough to 1/8 inch thick, using thin metal spatula to loosen dough. (You could roll thicker than 1/8 inch if you prefer). Sprinkle surface lightly with flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.
4. Cut or form dough into desired shapes. Place dough shape 1/2 inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet (I use my silpat). Bake, reversing cookie sheets (from top to bottom and back to front) halfway through the baking time, until evenly golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.
5. Use thin bladed spatula to immediately transfer cookies to cooking rack. Cool to room temperature. Decorate cookies, if desired, and transfar to airtight container (can be stored up to 3 weeks).
***Recipe from Cook's Illustrated
Vanilla Butter Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
4 T. milk
Assorted food coloring or gel paste food color (if desired)
Using an electric mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners sugar. Add the vanilla and milk and beat to combine. Then, on high speed, beat frosting until it is light and fluffy. You can always add more milk if you want the frosting to be thinner or add more confectioners sugar if you want the frosting to be thicker. The recipe is very forgiving. Tint with food color if using. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap to prevent the frosting from drying out.
***Recipe from Joy of Baking