Well, hello 2014!! We have found ourselves enjoying our 18th day of holiday break thanks to super-frigid temps in these parts. We had a wonderful Christmas spent together, including Kearsten coming home from SC. I decided to really try to savor the time & unplug a bit.
We found out last night that we would get yet another day off, so Kendi & I decided we should plan to bake cookies today. When I asked her what kind, she said she'd like to make the ones with "sparkles" on them. Bless her heart. She missed out on our traditional making of cutout cookies for Christmas because she had the dreaded fever that was picking us off one at a time, so I was happy to plan on making these. I had a few requests for the recipe at Christmas, so I thought I'd share them with anyone still reading my neglected blog.
This is Joe's grandmother's recipe for cut-out cookies, & it is by far the best I have ever had (& believe me, I've tried a lot of recipes). I decided to even share pictures of the goodness, fully aware that I will NOT be making it into any foodie magazines. But when I am trying a new recipe, I appreciate visuals. :)
Grandma Purdy's Cutout Cookies (makes 6-7 dozen)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups white sugar
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
4-6 cups of flour (I used 5 today)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Dissolve the baking soda in the buttermilk. It will expand & get frothy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, butter, eggs, & vanilla.
Add in the buttermilk mixture. Then add the flour, baking powder, & salt.
Once it's mixed, it looks like this. Not too sticky, but not all dry either. Cover & chill for 4 hours or overnight. Truth be told, it was so crazy cold today that I figured my garage could pass for a blast chiller, so I put that dough out there for about 2 hours while I did some other things. Perfect.
Roll dough out to about a 1/4" on floured surface.
Cut out any shapes you like. I went fancy with the round shape brought to you by a plastic cup. I already told you I would not be appearing in any foodie magazines. :)
Bake at 350 degrees 6-8 minutes or until light golden brown on the bottom. You don't want to overbake these. One of their best qualities is their soft yumminess. You'll note in the upper righthand corner a couple of cookies that look like someone snagged a bite. This is the naughty-face of said someone:
And now the frosting....the frosting is seriously the secret weapon to these cookies. I made a bazillion of these cookies for Kameryn & Dante's graduation party, & we used platters of them as center pieces on the tables. I cannot tell you how many people came up to me & said, "I don't usually like cutout cookies, but since they were sitting there, I had one & LOVED them". The kids were getting a kick out of watching people packing up some in napkins to take home. The special ingredient? Orange juice.
It took me forever to make this frosting like my mother-in-law. I finally watched her only to discover that you melt the darn butter. Most frosting I've ever made uses softened butter. So here's the deal: Melt a stick of butter & then add enough powdered sugar until it gets a little crumbly.
When it looks like this, add about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla & enough orange juice to get it good & wet. This is when I get the hand mixer involved. Mix it up & then add more powdered sugar (after alternating a couple times, I think I ended up using about 2/3 of a 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar). It's about now I start tasting it. Once you've reached a good consistency & it doesn't taste too buttery anymore but instead is this mixture of heaven with a hint of orange, it's good. (It's funny how many people will get stuck on the flavor b/c it's unexpected & not overpowering). Once you share that there's orange juice in it, you get the, "Ohhhhhh!" lol
Today, Mommy did the frosting & the kids handled the sprinkles. After the first incidence of the pile of colored sugar on the frosting, I had a stroke of genius. I just dumped a small mound of sprinkles on each child's wax paper so they could pinch & sprinkle. Genius, I tell ya! No more sprinkle overdoses and at the same time, working on fine motor skills. You're welcome.
After all the hard work, it was time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
And since I never posted any Christmas pictures, here's what made this mama's heart happy:
While I'm at it, I'll had the New Year's recap, too. Really, we just enjoyed some low-key family time together after I ran a New Year's Eve 5K with a couple friends in 5 degree weather. Good times!
Hope your new year is off to a good start...Looking forward to seeing what this year brings!