Day 10 is here and that means Fix Feast Flair's 12 Days of Sweets is coming to an end, but rest assured, there's still so much awesome to come (plus there's still time to enter a few of the past day's giveaways!)! I couldn't fathom doing this year's 12 Days without including one classic cookie (cookies will always be near and dear to my heart). Sugar cookies!! I have the fondest memories of decorating them as a child--my mother was very indulgent and let me make all the cookies my heart desired, which was, errr, a lot of cookies. Sugar cookies almost always made the cut, so I'd pretty much be denying my inner child if I didn't make some this year.
Out of sheer luck, instead of searching around forever to find the "best" recipe ever, I thankfully came across a recipe from the queen of yum (and cute), Molly Yeh, for Sugar Cookie Mini Cakes and I knew I could stop there. I mean, come on, they're so cute and those perfectly golden rounds took me right back to my childhood and my dreams of making the perfect cookies. Note, mine never looked that perfect. In fact, they were usually misshapen and overly decorated with all the sprinkles and loads of icing. However, that's neither here nor there. This year, I'm trading in my sprinkles and thick icing and going for a minimal and slightly unconventional Christmas sugar cookie theme: Christmas Safari Animals (and Hot Dogs). Scarves and Christmas lights make everything festive, right? Moses is pretty much the ultimate icer, so don't give me any credit for how cute these cookies came out. All I did was mix 'em up, roll them out (with my favorite French taper rolling pin from Vermont Farm Table), and bake them on my Silpat baking mats to ensure even baking with zero burnt bottoms (woot woot woot!). I tried a few and failed a little, so thankfully, my favorite artist took over.
Speaking of failing, make sure you read through Molly's entire Sugar Cookie Mini Cakes post because at the end of it, she shares some pretty amazing tips on how to repurpose your baking fails and turn them into wins. Basically, she saves you from thinking about throwing all your burnt cookies in the trash or smashing your broken cake into a million little pieces (no, just me there?). Luckily for you, I'm pretty sure your next batch of sugar cookies will be overwhelmingly successful because: a. You're gonna make 'em with Molly's recipe and b. I've teamed up with three of my go-tos for baking: Silpat, StudioPatró, and Vermont Farm Table!!! Pssst, now's when you cue all the party poppers!!
Before we go into giveaway specifics, I first want to tell a bit about today's giveaway. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I pretty much refuse to bake anything without my Silpat mats. I suggest them for almost every baking recipe and I use them religiously. Why? Because they make everything turn out better. I'm talking, perfectly crisped bottoms (versus burnt), easy release for sticky taffies and caramels, even baking all around, and honestly, reassurance. I just feel better knowing I have that my bottoms won't burn or my caramel won't stick. Pretty much RUN to the store if you don't have these mats in your baking quiver. They're crucial. Kinda like my StudioPatró linens and flour sack towels. I use my tea towels and flour sack towels daily and have begun to build my linen napkin collection (it's growing rapidly) and StudioPatró is truly top notch. The quality is amaze, the design is exceptional, and it's all thanks to an amazing woman, Christina Weber. I met Christina back when I was in San Francisco and she really is an impressive lady. Which is why it comes as no surprise that her towels and linens have become my go-to's in the kitchen. And finally, Vermont Farm Table. I recently stumbled upon their rolling pins when I was out in Portland a few months ago, and GAHHHHH, I don't even know how I carried on before that. Their French taper rolling pin is it. Best pin I've ever used, so naturally I looked 'em up to see if they made anything else, and ding ding ding, they make so many gorgeous things. I'm currently crushing on all their cutting boards and those French paddles. Swoon.
Ok, and now those nitty gritty details, since I know you'll all be baking up a storm this holiday season and are gonna be needing this bundle. Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite cookie (to make or to eat) during the holidays and a memory attached to that cookie. One winner will be chosen at random and notified via email, so make sure you fill out the form below, too! Open to US residents only. (Sorry international friends).
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 large egg
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- 2 Tbsp. meringue powder
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. water
- 1/2 lb. powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
- 3 drops almond extract
- Silpat mats (or parchment paper)
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Stand mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Offset spatula (I used this one)
- Wire cooling rack
- Piping bag fitted with 1/8" tip
- Preheat the oven to 350 ºF. Line baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, around 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add extracts and egg. Mix to combine. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients, in 1/2 cup increments and mix until combined before adding more. When all the flour has been mixed in, dump out the dough onto a clean work surface and knead it a couple times to bring it together. Divide it in half, wrap half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it that half while you roll out the first half. (Alternatively, you can make dough in advance, wrap all of it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.)
- Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes and use a small offset spatula to transfer cutouts to a baking sheet, placing 1-inch apart. Re-roll scraps and repeat with the remaining half of the dough. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer them a wire rack to cool completely.
ROYAL ICING & ASSEMBLY
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together meringue powder and water with a hand whisk until foamy. Attach bowl to stand, sift in powdered sugar and beat on low speed to combine. Add corn syrup and almond extract and increase speed to medium-high speed. Beat for about 5 minutes or until glossy, hard peaks form (make sure not to over beat).
- Transfer to a piping bag fitted with 1/8" tip and pipe onto cookies as desired.
- Let icing dry completely.
- Serve and enjoy or package and gift!