Friday, February 8, 2013

Valentines Day Sugar Cookies

4½ cups all-purpose flour
4½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 tsp. vanilla extract

5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
7-8 tbsp. milk (plus more, as needed)
Food coloring (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

- Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.  
- Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together until blended well.  
- In another bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy.  
- Beat your eggs in the butter/sugar, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.  Blend in the vanilla.  
- With your mixer on low, add in 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time until all the ingredients are evenly mixed and incorporated.  Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.  Although I found 30 minutes worked well too.
Annie's recipes calls for to scoop a scant quarter cup of dough and roll into a ball.  Flatten the ball slightly and place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies at least 2-3 inches apart.  
I tried three different ways to see which would result in the nicest looking cookie.  
A.)  I placed the dough onto parchment paper, making a basic log, and then rolled the dough into a "snake" and twisted the ends of the parchment paper into opposite directions, to compact the cookie dough, and then placed it in the fridge to chill.  After 30 minutes I cut them into 1/4" slices.  (Example: White cookie in the picture)
The parchment cookie made a compact "coin-like" shaped cookie.
B.)  I chilled the dough, covered in plastic, for 30 minutes then took the dough out rolled it into a 1" ball and took a bottom-floured glass and pressed down on the ball to form a more circular cookie.  (Example: Pink cookie in the picture)
The ball/flattened cookie cracked a bit on the sides, but you could press your finger over the cracks to fix this, but a they turned out to me of a store-purchased cookie.
C.)  I rolled the dough into a 1" ball and then placed them onto the cookie sheet without pressing them down.
The ball effect turned out just like it went in.. a ball and not very well cooked, as I would have liked it.
In the end I liked the way B cookie turned out.
- Bake the cookies about 10-12 minutes or just until set.  Do not over bake the cookies letting them turn brown!  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for several minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
- In a small sauce pan melt the butter.
- In a medium bowl add the confectioners sugar.  
- Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl and whisk until smooth.  You might need to add more milk, but do so by a teaspoon at a time.  
- I frosted half my cookies with the white frosting then added 6 drops of red food coloring to create the sweet pink color and then frosted my remaining cookies and added Valentine heart sprinkles to the cookies.  Store in an airtight container.