We have regularly joked that no one can get married or have baby unless Kate makes chicken salad and I make sugar cookies. Kate's chicken salad is perfect...every. time. She doesn't have a recipe and no one's is even close to as delicious. I have watched her many times. She just chops things and stirs and suddenly, it's perfect. Slap that on a croissant and honestly, it is HEAVEN.
Marina is having a baby. A NEW YEARS baby. And another boy! We will have five of them now. And to celebrate her first born, we gathered to, you guessed it, eat chicken salad and sugar cookies. So here's my first of many posts, about sugar cookies. My mom made sugar cookies for every holiday as I grew up. She still has cookie cutters that pre-date me. And they were always delicious. If you've ever wanted to try homemade, I can PROMISE YOU, it's worth it. Over the years, I have put own spin on them and I can assure you, these are as good as you will buy anywhere. They are some work but frankly, follow my time line and you can work them in to your busy schedule too.
Day 1: Make your dough. (This time, I made it Wednesday but it can be made up to a week in advance or you can freeze it. I've had it frozen at the end of this stage for up to 4 months and it still turned out a beautiful cookie.)
Combine 3 sticks of softened, unsalted butter with 2 cups of sugar:
|After you mix together your butter and sugar, it will be light and fluffy. Like a cloud, full of saturated fat instead of rain. Like a happy face without the soul-less black eyes. Like fat cottony petals of yellow roses.|
|Dough will be fairly runny after you add these babies.|
|All in all, it's about as simple of a recipe as you can get.|
|This is basically found in my kitchen around any major holiday; birthday; or anytime anyone for any reason decides to throw a party to celebrate marriage or children.|
|15-20 minutes; 7 easily available ingredients; and good memories are about to be made.|
There are literally thousands of cookie cutters out there. THOUSANDS. The best ones are copper. The stainless ones can lose their shape and get rust but they still work well. Most of what you will find out there is stainless. Plastic cookie cutters (in my humble opinion) are just plain crap.
So now you are ready to roll out your cookies. Even though you have to let the dough chill overnight, it's probably too cold to work with very easily. You will have to spend a little time kneeding the dough into a workable mound/ ball. Take about 1/4 of the dough in your dough blob and work until it becomes a ball.
Then get yourself more flour. Floured work surface; floured hands and floured rolling pin. Turn that ball into a large 1/4 thick rough of dough. Work from the center out with your rolling pin.
|Doesn't have to be pretty. The goal here is even thickness throughout your blob. Let's all submit ideas about what this blob looks like. I'll start. Grimace from McDonalds.|
|Stainless cookie cutter. Not always perfect but definitely gets the job done.|
|Can you feel how precious it's about to get in my kitchen???|
|Baking on parchment or a silpat...ALWAYS a good result.|
|Baby bottle sugar cookies. Baked up, delicious and adorable.|
Day 3: Frosting/ icing/ decorating. (Icing takes 5 minutes to make; cookies took probably 30-45 minutes to decorate.)
Another day I will post about icing. I work with no less than FIVE icing recipes and depending on the occasion, I have a recipe that will work well. This time around absolutely #1 issue was taste. So we used my mom's recipe. It's a "true" buttercream but isn't the prettiest of options. That said, with just a little work you can have very cute cookies that taste like small doses of hedonism.
Combine 1 1/2 sticks SOFTENED (very soft) unsalted butter; 2 teaspoons vanilla; 1/4 teaspoon salt and 6 tablespoons milk.
|I put a little of my powdered sugar quantity in at this time so it isn't quite so liquidy or splashy. (Yes those are WORDS.)|
|This is what a good recipe looks like. Handwritten; stained; smudged.|
|We put the butter in buttercream.|
|Behold. Electric blue.|
|Some delicious goodness. Right. Here.|
|Nothing fancy here. Just some good clean fun. And cookies!|
|The horses manes are made from a tiny little Wilton star tip.|
But most importantly, now we are safe. Marina can now have her baby as the time honored chicken salad/ cookie ritual is complete.