iced sugar cookies

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i took the red-eye megabus home from d.c. last thursday night and arrived in durham friday morning, bleary-eyed but ready to bake in my own kitchen. i scrolled through pinterest and came across molly yeh’s adorable sugar cookies, which seemed like the perfect way to start off my holiday baking, but after reading the recipe, it dawned on me that my stand mixer, piping bags, piping tips, and all of my favorite food colorings, sprinkles, and cookie cutters were still back in my dorm.

but i was determined!!!! i scrounged up a cookie cutter, a star piping tip, and some very old dragées, scraped congealed food coloring off the lids of empty wilton bottles (i knew it was a good idea to save those!), used ziplock bags as pseudo-piping bags, and dusted off my broken stand mixer (it starts thrashing around the second it’s plugged in).

i think they turned out pretty well! i had a good time improvising in the kitchen. i like my sugar cookies soft, but if you prefer crunchy ones feel free to turn the oven up to 375° and bake them for a few extra minutes. you can also leave out the almond and/or coconut extracts, but i love the flavor combination!

recipe adapted from molly yeh

cookies

  • 4 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the cookies
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract

glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • food coloring

buttercream

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • food coloring
  • gold and white dragées

for the cookies, preheat the oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. add the eggs one at a time, then add the extracts. add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. divide the dough into two large disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. after it’s been chilled, take one of the disks and roll it out on a floured surface to 1/4″ thickness. cut with a cookie cutter and transfer to a baking sheet, then re-roll the scraps and cut again. repeat with the second disk. bake for 10 minutes, let cool on the sheets for another 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

meanwhile, make the glaze: whisk together all the ingredients in a shallow bowl and dye with a few drops of food coloring. if it’s too thick, add some more milk, and if it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.

for the buttercream, beat the butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 5 to 7 minutes, until light and fluffy. divide into separate bowls or cups and dye with food coloring (i went for yellow, reddish orange, green, turquoise, and white), then transfer to piping bags fitted with round or star tips.

to decorate, dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze, let the excess drip off, then place on a wire rack to dry. after a few minutes, once they’re mostly dry to the touch, you can pipe on buttercream decorations!

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