Hope everyone is staying warm! Woke up today to sleet, a nice sight considering we haven’t had much of anything this winter other than rain. I would have preferred actual sticking snow, but sleet was just as nice to see 🙂 It’s on days like this I just want to hunker down under a warm blanket, cup of coffee nearby, a little heater aimed at my feet, and get lost in a book. It’s a day to not do anything! However, it’s also a day fire up the oven and warm up the house with some baked goodies!
Each year G–Man and I set out to decorate holiday cookies and last month I think we REALLY discovered something yummy! I didn’t grow up decorating holiday cookies, Mom and I did that once and never again because of how messy it was. True, it can be very messy and now you all know where I get it 😉 It’s hard for me let my son in the kitchen to help with cooking and baking because the mess seems to grow. But determined to create our own holiday memories, I put aside my angst against messes and let G–Man have at it. Rolling out the dough, cutting out the shapes, sprinkling on the colored sugar. My hand in it is the making of said dough, putting in and pulling out the pans from the oven, and applying the frosting. We always have a lot of fun and actually enjoy ourselves! There is hope for me yet!
Last year I discovered a very tasty cut out sugar recipe. I wanted something that was going to soft, chewy, and yet sturdy enough to hold up to the frosting. And then I wanted a frosting that wasn’t overly sweet, that would have a delicious vanilla flavor and set up in no time. Boy did I get lucky with the recipes and I am so happy to be able to share them with you today! The recipe for the cut out cookies is over at Sally’s Baking Addiction. The only thing I didn’t have for the recipe was almond extract, no bigs I just replaced it with more of our homemade vanilla extract which was a great idea!
We decided to keep them simple this year, stars, gingerbread men, and Christmas trees. The year before last we used a store bought icing tubes(red, white, green) and while that did make our first time decorating cookies I wasn’t too impressed with the outcome. So this year I made the commitment to making the frosting from scratch. But first let me brag about Sally’s cookie recipe. Chewy. Soft. Flavorful. Not too sweet. Everything I ever want in a cookie and more! It was an easy enough recipe to make and here’s a trick when cutting them out. Instead of rolling out on a surface and then transferring them to a cookie sheet, I turned a baking sheet pan upside down, applied a scant amount of Crisco to the pan and laid a piece of parchment paper to it. The Crisco helps to keep the parchment paper in place when rolling out the dough. I only rolled out the dough twice before discarding.
reposition the cut out pieces on the pan and bake according to directions. They came out perfect! Once cooled G–Man would move them from the pan to a cooling wrack and we would continue on to the next batch. So fun!
And now for the frosting, I based mine off of the one I found over at allrecipes. But like always, I chose to change it up slightly. See, I don’t like adding milk and vanilla extract to my frosting recipes. It’s too much liquid and the vanilla flavor is never right. I know I’ve shared this many times before, but I like to use flavored coffee creamer in lieu of milk and vanilla extract. That shouldn’t shock anyone but I’m sorry if it does. I am especially fond of the French Vanilla coffee creamer(yes, the liquid stuff). So, here’s the link to the original recipe, but below is how I changed it. Try both and decide which one you like best!
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup shortening
5 TBLSP + 1 tsp French Vanilla Coffee Creamer
food coloring, optional
- In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners’ sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the coffee creamer with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.
And that’s it! My youngest nephew was impressed and because he liked them so much I sent the rest home with him 🙂 Of course you don’t have to use French Vanilla coffee creamer, you can use Hazelnut, Irish Cream, Amaretto, Caramel…really the possibilities are endless! Especially around the holidays when there’s white chocolate, peppermint, and eggnog.
And that’s how this Night Owl does Frosted Chewy Sugar Cookies. I had G–Man keep the decoration simple, just red and green colored sugar. Explaining to him that I wanted the flavor and texture to be “center stage” rather than piling on numerous candies, sprinkles, and layers of frosting.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this cookie and frosting recipe is perfect! Now all I need to get are some heart shaped cutters and red frosting gel to make Valentine cookies for G–Man to give at his Patch Club Valentine’s Day party.
I hope you all have enjoyed this little post and try out these recipes. Hopefully they will become your go–to recipes as they have become ours! Have a blessed day!!!