Thursday, May 10, 2012

Iced Sugar Cookies

First and foremost, this post starts with a massive shout out to Donya, who not only assisted in making these cookies, but took all the amazing photos that you see in this post. AND, she let me use her stand mixer. STAND MIXER!!! I wanted to steal it, but it wouldn't fit inside my jacket.

I'll back up a moment-- these cookies happened because Donya and I worked with Erin's husband to throw her a surprise 30th birthday party. We had to be awwwwwfully sneaky to do this, because, as far as Erin knew, Donya and I had only met in passing and didn't really know each other. This was true, except that we spent the past month emailing 320482304234723948732 times a day planning the party. (and giggling.)

As this party took place over an hour from where I live, but only about fifteen minutes from where Donya lives, we decided that the day before the party was going to be 'last minute errands-decoration making-baking slumber party of fun.' And it was just that! We finished all the last minute decorations (pics to come!), iced the cupcakes (posts to come!), baked up a batch of these bad boys, and still had time to go out for a fabulous dinner and do a load of laundry. I've now determined we are the best party planners ever, and shall henceforth be referred to as "Crooked Vision." :-) (The universe that exists in my brain is SO AWESOME, you have no idea.)
Crooked Vision!!!!!
The recipe itself has been in my family for over 150 years and came from my great-great-great-great-great grandma on my mom's side. The original recipe calls for lard, but over the years it has been adapted to shortening-- I do not recommend using butter! The cookies have a light, cakey, texture and freeze really well. (No, YOU repeatedly got caught stealing frozen cookies out of your grandma's freezer.) This is the recipe we use for Christmas cookies, or really any kind of celebration. My grandma still mails me a box of these on special occasions, because my grandma is awesome.

(For a printable version of this recipe, click here)
Iced Sugar Cookies (Yield - 3 dozen large cookies)

2 cups sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla
7 cups four
5 teaspoons baking powder

Step #1 - Preheat oven to 400*F.

Step #2 - Mix sugar, shortening, eggs and vanilla together.

Step #3 - In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder.

Step #4 - Add the flour mixture to the sugar/egg mixture, alternating with the milk and water.

Step #5 - Chill dough. Chill for at least an hour, or for as long as a day or so before using it. Make sure dough is covered when chilling.

Step #6 - Roll dough between two sheets of wax paper until 1/4 of an inch thick. Or, you can roll on a well floured surface, but the wax paper is WAY less of a mess, and, it helps make sure you don't end up drying out the cookies with too much extra flour being worked in.

Oh, yes, there was wine involved. :-)
Step #7 - Using a well floured cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on well greased or parchment covered cookie sheet. I like to put a little pile of flour on the counter by where I'm rolling the dough and just dip the cookie cutter in the flour between each cut.

Step #8 - Bake until set and the edges are just barely golden, but not browned. Time will depend on the size of cookie you cut. The little guys in the picture above were about an inch and a half wide and only took about five minutes to bake. A 2.5 or 3 inch cookie will take about 8 minutes. Do not let cookies brown, or they will be dry. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on a wire rack.

The Icing......

1 cup shortening
6 cups confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon clear almond extract

Mix all ingredients together with a mixer until smooth. If icing is too think, add a little extra milk; if it is too thin, add a little more sugar.
Add coloring of your choice and apply generously to cookies.


  1. we are a good baking team. you know. you bake, i eat and photograph it.

    1. Dude- you iced all of those, which means you did three things while I did one. :-)

  2. These sounds so good right now!

  3. Two things:
    1) At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic, I think that is "Cupcake" wine, is it not? How appropriate for you. :)
    2) I haven't gotten a random holiday box of these cookies in a long time. Am I no longer the favorite grandchild, do you think? ;) Ha.

  4. Yum! These cookies look delish! Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday this week. Have a wonderful weekend.