Recipe Monday: Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

I needed to share what I did all weekend- as previously mentioned I work from home for a great company called Square One Interiors. My boss likes to make homemade baked goods for her clients for Christmas- she is so creative she does custom silver paint cans and fills them with an assortment of goodies. SO… I was in charge of the sugar cookie portion of the gift- 160 of them to be exact (that is 10 batches!)! I have made sugar cookies in the past- but I have never focused on making them pretty- slice and bake works fine for me! So after I offered to make the sugar cookies I had a little moment of panic- they have to 1 )look good 2) taste good and 3) be able to stack in the cans without the icing getting ruined. I did some SERIOUS online research- and found this post: HERE. It is exactly what I needed- step by step instructions to making the perfect shapes!
Here are the important points from her article:

  • use superfine sugar or blend the sugar in the blender first
  • mix dry ingredients first, then add butter 1T at a time in the mixer, then other ingredients
  • refrigerate balls ..then roll out.. then refrigerate.. then cut.. then bake
  • bake for 10 minutes only- even if they dont look done- pull them out. They were so soft and delightful!

I then researched the perfect icing- it needed to a) harden b) be pretty and shiny and c) taste good…really good!

I found this recipe from HERE, however I changed it to this:
Shiny/Hard/Yummy Cookie Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1T milk (and added more until it was smooth)
1T Light corn syrup (I had to add more of this too to get the right consistency and “shine”)
1/4t Almond Extract
1t Vanilla Extract (and added a bit more to taste)

Here is the Cookie Recipe I used suggested from THIS BLOG:

Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)
Recipe says it will yield approximately 3 dozen cookies. I doubled the recipe & got 32 cookies with my cookie cutters. The amount of cookies will definitely depend on your cookie cutter sizes!
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup superfine sugar (just whipped 1 cup sugar in the food processor until it was blended and then measured out 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces & softened
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whisk the flour, sugar, & salt together in a large bowl. Beat the butter into the flour mixture, one piece at a time using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, then continue to beat until the mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese & vanilla until he dough just begins to form large clumps, about thirty seconds.
Knead the dough in the large bowl by hand a few times until it forms a large, cohesive mass. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, divide it in half, and apt into a two four inch disks. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375. Work with one disk at a time, roll out the dough to a 1/8″ thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. Slide the rolled dough and parchment onto a baking sheet & refrigerate again until firm.
Working with one
sheet of dough at a time cut out shapes using cookie cutters and lay on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 1″ apart. Bake the cookies until light golden brown, about ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely, about thirty minutes. When cooled, the cookies can be decorated as desired.

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