SUGAR COOKIES KEEP IT EASY FOR THE HOLIDAYS
You have them — friends that deliver beautiful cookie trays at the holidays, full of handcrafted delectable treats. You’d think that they spent hours sculpting each perfect cookie, all individually delicious. They might have, but there’s a secret method to success for a holiday cookie collection: a cookie base that can perform more than just one job.
There are many cookie bases, but for holiday decorating, you just can’t beat a sugar cookie. This recipe is delicious and versatile, able to be shaped into intricate cut out cookies or pressed into a cheesecake crust. Just don’t eat them all before it’s time to give them away.
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix flour, baking powder and kosher salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until incorporated.
Add vanilla and almond extract. Mix.
Add dry ingredients, scraping down the side and mixing again. Sugar cookies will form a ball and are now ready for the next step.
Sugar Cookie Cups
Preheat oven completely to 350 degrees.
Roll sugar cookie dough into small uniform balls.
Press balls into decorative muffin cups, pressing a well in the middle.
Bake until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool.
16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup of heavy cream, whipped
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar, vanilla and lemon and beat with mixer again. Whip the heavy cream separately and gently fold into the cream cheese mixture until blended.
Fill the sugar cookie cups with a scoop of cheesecake filling, topping with strawberries, nuts, chocolates or sprinkles.
To make incredible sugar cookies, consider your ingredients. Buying Madagascar vanilla and a good brand of almond extract makes a difference in taste.
Using the same pressing method, shape sugar cookie base into a rectangular baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven until slightly golden. Cool.
The bars are layered with caramel and chocolate. The recipe is simple to make, just takes time to adequately cool in between.
1 bag of soft caramels
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Take caramels out of their wrapper and add to a small saucepan over low heat. Measure and add heavy cream. Mix constantly until they are melted and mixture is smooth.
Pour onto cooled cookie crust and refrigerate until set.
1 bag (11 oz.) high-quality milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place both ingredients in microwavable bowl. Heat in 20-second bursts, mixing in between each turn. When chocolate is melted and smooth, add over cooled caramel layer. Refrigerate until completely cool.
Pull bar out of baking dish by the parchment paper. Cut into thin slices and add to a plate for individual bars.
The old standby, Sugar Cookie Cut Outs are easy after making the Best Sugar Cookie Base. Simply refrigerate the dough for at least an hour and roll out onto a floured surface. It helps to have a rolling pin to keep the width uniform.
Using a cookie cutter, makes desired shapes. Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes to help sugar cookies keep their shape. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven.
Decorate with sprinkles before they are cooked or just bake, cool and use the cheesecake filling for an easy icing.
SUGAR COOKIE PINWHEELS
Using the Best Sugar Cookie Base, divide into three sections. Mix with two to four drops of food coloring to make festive colors. Leave one section plain.
Shape each section into a rectangle around the same size. Refrigerate for an hour.
Sandwiching each section between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out to a similar size. Layer all of the sections on top of each other, cut them into a rectangle to match. Then, roll them up longwise.
Using a sharp knife, cut cookie discs, revealing a swirl.
Bake 350 degrees until edges are crisp.