It's tough to create an old-fashioned holiday on a 2006 schedule without delicious holiday cookies. From brightly colored holiday trees to sparkling silver bells and delicate angels these delicious treats make a holiday special.
Indeed homemade cookies are wonderful. However they can be time-consuming to prepare – especially when you use complicated recipes that require hours of time in the refrigerator before they can be cut, baked and iced.
Just in time for the holidays we offer you this easy recipe straight from Austin's own Penny McConnell of Penny's Pastries. This dough needs no refrigeration before rolling and cutting; handles like a dream and produces buttery, great-tasting cookies.
You'll find this and 18 other mouth-watering cookie recipes in the recently released Cookie Stories: Life Moments and the Cookies that Inspired Them (Falling Star Press, 2005) written by Penny McConnell and Kathy Sutton.
Penny's Roll-and-Cut Cookies
The recipe can be made as large as your mixer will hold and the finished dough can be held in your freezer for a month. When you're ready to use it simply bring the dough to room temperature before rolling and baking. Finish the cookies with either sparking sugars or slather with tinted Royal frosting or buttercream.
Yield: 4-6 dozen cookies
Temperature: 325 degrees
Baking time: 8-10 minutes
2 cups salted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons whipping cream or whole milk
4 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cookie sheets with kitchen parchment.
2. In electric mixer bowl, mix butter with sugar until smooth. Remember to just incorporate these ingredients, do not cream until light.
3. Add all liquid ingredients to mixer bowl and process.
4. In a separate bowl, mix flour with baking powder.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and process until heavy dough forms. This dough needs no refrigeration before rolling and cutting.
6. To prepare the dough for rolling and cutting, separate the finished dough into two large balls. Work with one dough ball at a time.
7. Flour a work surface. Knead the dough a few times to smooth it out before rolling.
8. Re-flour the surface if necessary. Sprinkle a light dusting of flour directly on the dough surface. With a rolling pin, roll dough into a disk until the dough is approximately ¼ "thick. (Roll dough thicker if you prefer a more cake-like texture to the finished cookies.) Remember while you're rolling to occasionally lift the dough from the work surface and turn it so it will not stick. Add additional flour to the work surface when necessary.
9. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. The dough scraps can be used several times.
10. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating pans once during the baking cycle. The cookies are perfect when the bottoms are golden brown and the tops are light blond.
11. Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
You'll want frosting for these cookies so here is a standard recipe for Royal Frosting.
12 tablespoons warm water
6 tablespoons meringue powder
7 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoon flavoring such as almond extract
1. Pour warm water into electric mixer bowl. Add all other ingredients.
2. With speed on low, mix ingredients until they form a thick frosting
3. When the icing is smooth, set the mixer on its highest setting and process until the icing goes from shinny to dull, has doubled in volume, and will stand in stiff peaks.
4. Use as desired to decorate cookies