Monday, February 15, 2010

Oma's Sugar Cookies

Greetings! Gang member Mary is our cookie maker today,....I want to add that Mary is a the most fantastic cook,...she is also a great Baker....she makes the most wonderful cakes and pies....imagine this...fresh coconut cake....really hand grated good....unbelievable...o.k. back to the cookies....I had some of these cookies yesterday...they are cookies that go well with either milk or hot tea....the fresh lemon is so good....makes all the difference in the world...

This is one of the very best sugar cookies I have ever eaten.
The prebaking process is a little longer than usual but it is so worth the few extra minutes.
Begin by assembling all of the ingredients.  I find that if I am proactive with this the mixing up process is speeded up. The recipe follows:

1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of one lemon

Granulated sugar for rolling cookies
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice or milk

the cup of powdered sugar and lemon/milk ingredients are for making the glaze for the cookies if you opt not to make the butter cream frosting. 

The recipe comes from this novel by "Judith Ryan Henderson"  this is such a satisfying chick book.
I thought I was a little too cool for books like this Ha!!!  Seems I am not.
The page number to find this recipe is  142
And let me just say there are other recipes in this book for really good artisan bread.  Just read it and you will be so happy that you did.
Ok so I cleared the decks a little bit.  I might have a little ADHD or autism something.  There are times when order is over the top important to me.  Baking is one of those times. 

So cut the chilled butter into small pieces and blend with the sugar.  I used ultra fine baking sugar because it incorporates more quickly.

When it is nicely blended add the eggs and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

They say at this point you should sift the dry ingredients together, I don't.  I have never really used a sifter and why start now.  So I just put all of the dry ingredients into the bowl on top of the creamed butter mixture.

Put the zest of the lemon on top of the dry ingredients. And then use a wooden spoon to blend everything together.  Don't ask me why they want us to use a wooden spoon.  She said it in the book and I say OK.
Besides that I have some really cool old wooden spoons that are so worn from mixing that they know their business and do the best job.

Mix until all of the dry ingredients disappear. Turn out on a floured board and knead gently
for 15 to 20 minutes.  Adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
This is very cathartic I think.  Reminds me of my Grandma and my mother baking bread.
This is how it should look.
The recipe asks us to roll walnut size pieces of dough into balls.
Roll in sugar and bake on a buttered cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes
in a 350 degree oven.  I baked them for 15 minutes and that was just right.

Wait a second I almost forgot.  Press the cookies down to 1/4 inch depth with a glass dipped in sugar.

Then bake.
As soon as the first batch is out of the oven you should taste them right away.  Then you will know why you bothered in the first place.

The recipe calls for a lemon glaze over the cookies and it is delicious, however I was making Valentine's cookies so I made a simple butter cream frosting colored pink and instead of frosting the complete cookie,

I just mounded it on top of each one.  And then as you can see I used candy hearts for the garnish.

So simple, so good.  I had to put them on plates and take them around the neighborhood or I would still be standing at the dining room table eating them.

I hope you will give these a try and read the book.  We can talk about it later.


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