Sugar Cookie Secrets
At holiday baking time, I save the best for last. The last cookie on my list that is. Sugar cookies are to Christmas what chocolate rabbits are to Easter. No holiday would be without them.
I have to mentally prepare myself for making them because they take so much time. First, the dough. Make it a day ahead so it is easier to roll out. I cut the dough into manageable pieces and roll each piece between sheets of parchment paper, saving me a dirty, flour strewn counter.
My arsenal of cookie cutters runs from the ubiquitous Christmas tree to giant gingerbread men. I have learned to cut out the rolled dough on parchment paper, especially for large shapes. That way I don't have to try and lift them with a spatula to another cookies sheet that in most cases causes the cookies to break. And last year, I asked Santa for a wide- faced metal spatula to do the job.
Bake them at 350F but watch them like a hawk and shift the cookie sheets from the top to bottom shelf while they bake.
Let the cookies cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Then the fun begins. Make an icing glaze out of confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and Half/Half. Don't frost the cookies until they are cold. Once the glaze is on, sprinkle them with colored sugar and let them dry for several hours on a wire rack.
These will freeze beautifully when placed in single layers between sheets of wax paper in plastic containers so they do not get all jumbled together. It’s a long day in the kitchen but so worth it when on Christmas morning I find a note from Santa telling me that they were scrumptious.