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What Holiday Treats Do You Look Forward To?
American Cake Decorating did a poll to find out just what people really look forward to at Christmas. The results were unanimous for Cookies! Almost 70 percent of the people polled look forward to Christmas cookies as opposed to 15 percent, gingerbread houses, and 12 percent, other. Wow, I guess because the cookies are usually so delightfully colored and with such beautiful shapes!
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On the same poll they asked what theme would they choose for their New Years cake. The majority chose a theme of champagne and a midnight kiss, while others mentioned themes of fireworks, streamers, and confetti.
So what will be your themes? Gingerbread houses? Wreath cakes? or something truly unique? If you'd like to read more of the American Cake Decorating "slice" you can go here and check it out.
Below you'll find the best (so far) sugar cookie recipe. I like it better with vanilla instead of almonds but that depends on your taste buds.
1 C real butter (no substitutions!)
1 C sugar
1 1/2 t almond extract (you could use vanilla instead)
3 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and extract and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in waxed paper and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. If you want your cookies to hold their shape well, the dough needs to be chilled properly. A great tip to speed things up is to immediately roll dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and place on a flat surface in the fridge. It will chill super fast and be ready to go in no time.
When you're ready to roll out dough lightly sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out dough with a rolling pin.
About 8 minutes will get you a really soft cookie, a few minutes longer (when they start to just brown around the edges) and you'll get just a little crispiness around the edges and then a soft center, bake even longer (and roll thinner) and you'll get a buttery, crispy cookie that will just melt in your mouth. Any way you do it, they'll taste good. Remove onto cooling racks when you're done and let cool completely. I honestly think these even taste better the second day.
The best icing recipe is found at http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Royal-Icing. You can use less Meringue Powder and/or water depending on the consistency and drying time desired. More powder means it dries faster. Thicker for borders and writing, etc. Thinner for filling in between the lines and to get a smooth finish.
Until next time.....happy baking!