To add to the sporadic sub-theme of this blog which I’ve titled “Yummy things I Cook”, I recently delved into the world of seasonal baking. For those who know me, I am big into seasons. Not just holidays, but the season itself. When I noticed a lack on vibrant leaves around the Berkeley area, I felt the need to bring some sort of seasonal color into my own home. While there are many different routes to take when decorating, I decided on the eatable path and baked a double batch of Alton Brown’s Sugar Cookies.
As with any recipe, I researched before I began. Alton Brown’s Sugar Cookies have a slew of stellar reviews with very few recommended changes. For the sake of the recipe, I mostly kept to the book, but added a 1/2 tsp of vanilla and substituted milk for half and half (adds to the richness of the dough). I love this recipe because it is so versatile and the cookies bake within size and shape. Come Christmas I plan to add some cinnamon and other seasonal spices to the mix. If you wanted a more pumpkin flavor cookie, I suspect this recipe takes well to a small amount of pumpkin spice.
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough and icing
In a large bowl beat butter (room temperature) and sugar together until fluffy (about a minute). Whisk egg, half and half and vanilla together in a small bowl or mug, bled into butter mixture. Set aside
Alton Brown’s recipe says to “sift” baking powder, salt, and flour together. I do not have a sifter. I gently combined with a wooden spoon — everything turned out just fine. If you are very worried about the sifting aspect, you can briefly use a food processor to blend the ingredients, emphasis on briefly though as it refines the flour.
About 3/4 a cup at a time, begin to blend in the dry mixture into the large bowl of wet ingredients. Separate into two rolls and refrigerate for about 2 hours, roll out on powder sugar surface and cookie-cut your heart out.
I love my fall cookie cutters from Michaels
Bake for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees. For a glazed frosting look, frost immediately. I do not have a strict recipe for frosting, although I always use the same ingredients as a base.
3-4 C Powder Sugar
2 tbs half and half or milk
2 tbs melted butter
1/2 tsb vanilla or any other flavoring, if desired
Example of chocolate designs
For this cookie recipe, I searched for fun ways to decorate. Someone on the Food Network displayed a creative way to design sugar cookies with chocolate. The original recipe is called, Making White Chocolate Valentines. I loved this idea because first of all, I love chocolate and frankly many sugar cookies are missing this delicious ingredient. Secondly, the use of chocolate reiterates my fall colors.
1/2 C chocolate chips
splash of milk or half and half
1 tsp of butter
Place chocolate chips and butter in microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until chocolate is melted. Stir in milk. Spoon mixture into a ziplock bag and cut a very small tip out of the corner. Use this as your icing tub.