Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Best Sugar Cookies

Every year I try another sugar cookie recipe, and each year seem to have to choose between taste and appearance. Finally, I'm happy to share with you a recipe I found on the web that is great to eat and to cut and decorate. Today I made this recipe for my friend Linda in Los Angeles. I baked and  decorated them and then stood in the very long line at the post office to make sure she got them before she and the family leave for Christmas vacation. There is something about the tradition of baking and decorating cookies at this time of year that I see as mandatory.
I miss Linda and her husband John and their daughters Gracie and Ruby and baking my time into something they can ingest just makes sense. Of course I have to put up with the long looks here at home when the family sees all the carefully decorated cookies disappearing into a tin, but truly I can say they are in no way deprived. My biggest regret this season is that Siddig's visiting brother Tom wouldn't let me repack his bags so that he could take home a fruitcake for his father Michael. I really know how to pack a bag.
So, here is the very very worthwhile recipe,  from the generous Jill Saunders.

                                The Best Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

5 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 400F. Roll dough to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 1 inch apart.

3.Bake 6 to 8 minutes, cool and decorate. I make glaze out of confectioners sugar, a couple of tablespoons of dried pasteurized egg white, a little vanilla and enough water to make it a good spreading mixture. Into little bowls, add colors, and there you go! Look , I won't mislead you, doing about 20 of these took me several hours today, but remember, you're making your love into something you can send through the Post Office!


  1. Ooh! I LOVE!!!!!!! LOVE. LOVE this!! So pretty Nana!
    I think I need to move in. I can fit in very small spaces, fyi. Or,perhaps just take all your goodies from your kitchen? Just looking at those pretty cookies makes me happy. So pretty- and yummy too.

  2. These look wonderful! I missed my cookie baking day with my nephew this year due to weather, but maybe I can try these for him...I just need to figure out how to make a fire engine look christmas-y, since this year everything must include a fire engine (he's 3).

    Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Lisa-Make a Christmas tree look like it's on fire, then put a fire engine next to it. Firefighters work a lot during the holidays. Lit candles, trees on fire, electrical fires....So yeah I'd say a fire engine could be Christmasy. It could be The Fire Engine That Saved Christmas.
    Too traumatizing?? Best I can do. Santa on fire would be too much.

  4. Oh wonderful!!! The gingercake was such a hit with everybody that I can't wait to try these!

    Christmas time is my favorite time of year!

  5. I agree about the Gingercake- I made it twice~we got 5 inches of snow here today, so feeling very much like Christmas now.

    Thanks "Ballet"- that gives me some ideas!

  6. Yea! I'll try this recipe when I whip out my cookie cutters again!

    Here are my Aggie Mom's cookie contribution, to my son's goodie bag, over the finals last week.

    And you are right! LOTS OF Time Spent, and I didn't get fancy (but I had to make 43 pairs....)

    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Years....


  7. They look really wonderful! We usualy make christmas sweets without color glaze...

  8. Going to get the ingredients tomorrow. :D

    The people I live with don't believe in eating things like sugar, or milk, or bread, or eggs, or meat,or things that contain grain or fat. They're into eating healthy- something they've made it clear I know nothing about. Translation- more cookies for me! Yes!

    Will be making these and the gingercake for the people I like (and are not insane) for Christmas.

  9. Just returned from xmas vacation and have to say that as the recipient of said cookies, that they were as delicious as they were beautiful and disappeared long before we left for the holiday..... Thank you for the cookies and the love that came wrapped so sweet.