This afternoon was spent auditioning cookie recipies (and decorating ideas) to make for the cookie exchange this year! I'm torn between making ladylocks from scratch (always a winner with our crowd), or decorated sugar cookies. Both are equally a pain in the butt to make, but very nice cookies that fellow exchangers are excited to receive.
These really weren't that difficult to make, time consuming yes, but difficult, no. The receipe I used makes a really really stiff dough, that actually instructs you to NOT refrigerate before rolling. It made it easy to roll, with minimal stickage to my rolling mat.
Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift baking powder with flour. Add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be very stiff. Blend in the last of the flour by hand. Do not chill dough
Roll dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
Cut desired shapes using perimeter cookie cutters that have been dusted with flour to prevent sticking.
Remove excess dough.
Using a spatula dusted with flour, place cookies on a cookie sheet. Leave 1" space between cookies to allow for minimal spreading.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Place cookies on a cooling grid to cool completely.
To decorate as pictured, use a pastry brush and brush on piping gel (not the kind in a tube, but the kind that is clear and comes in a tub, labeled "piping gel"). Brush on a thin layer of piping gel onto cookies, and while gel is still wet sprinkle on colored sugar, sprinkles or other decorative candy. Wait to package until gel is set.
Happy holiday baking!