Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is "Holiday Potluck Dish: If you had to bring a dish to a winter holiday potluck, what would it be & what's the recipe?"
My holiday must-have are my Sparkly Sugar Cookies. I make a big batch of them and they serve as my standby to take to parties, give as impromptu gifts, and simply nom for pure holiday joy.
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (use the real stuff, not the imitation flavoring)
2 teaspoons almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (if you used salted butter, skip this)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. On this step, it’s hard to go too long. Let that sugar really melt in. Add in the eggs and egg yolks, one by one, mixing until smooth. Add vanilla and almond extracts gradually, mixing until smooth.
In another bowl, combine the flour, salt (if you’re using it) and baking powder. Gradually sift this mixture into the creamed butter mixture, beating constantly.
Cover the bowl with an airtight seal or wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Working with a fist-sized ball of dough at a time, on a flour-sprinkled surface, roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to about ¼” thick. (Keep the rest of the dough in the fridge while you work, so it stays nice and cold.) Use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes or, if you don’t have them, a drinking water glass will work to make simple circular cookies. There's nothing wrong with a classic!
Bake each batch for 6-8 minutes and let cool on a wire rack. When I get a good rhythm going, I can roll out and cut one batch while the other batch bakes.
Let the cookies cool completely before frosting. To make the (very basic) icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk (I use skim or 2% and it’s fine. Not that it matters with all that butter, but it’s what I usually have on hand.)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Mix together in a bowl. You want it to be very thick, so if it turns out runny, just add a little more powdered sugar.
I love the white and gold look for Christmas, because it adds a nice touch of glamour. So I leave the frosting white and use gold, silver and pearl decorative sugars.
Just smear the icing on the cookie—you can see I do spots on some and whole cookies on others, since everyone likes different amounts of frosting—and immediately sprinkle with your sugars.
There are lots of fun color schemes to play with, if you’re feeling frisky, too.