Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Thinking about cookies makes me happy. What a perfect little treat to hold in my hand with each bite bringing me pleasure to all senses. First the visual, eye-opening appearance to the inhale of sweet scent, to feel texture, hear crunch, taste flavor and experience comfort in the total eating process, producing a mouth-watering sensation for my taste buds.
I have many cookie recipes in my collections to choose from with unlimited flavors. So where do I begin? I went back to the basic sugar cookie or butter cookie. Wanting to keep it simple for our early family Hanukkah Party to include children of all ages as well as adults carefully watching their calorie intake at our family feasts, I choose one of my first cookie recipes from a Sesame Street Cookbook called “Cookie Monster’s Famous Cookie Dough.” Who else would know more about cookies than Cookie Monster, right? This recipe is a very classic, easy-to-follow recipe with quality ingredients producing a rich taste on the palate, yet easy on the sweetness scale of flavor. These cookies bake quickly and can be decorated for all occasions using cookie cutters and icing of choice.
A very simple sprinkle of a cinnamon-sugar mixture on these cookies while baking will bring the memories of baking at home when you were a child. What is more comforting and satisfying than a warm, sweet smell floating through your home?
To “party-up” these cookies a sprinkle of some gold, granular sugar on the star-shaped cookies gives an appearance of a glow coming out of the cookie as well as a little more flavor and crunch. On other cookies in this collection I choose to outline in blue icing to highlight the shape of the toy Dreidle that children play with at a Hanukkah Party. The icing gives a little more sweetness to this cookie as well as more visual affect.
What you will need:
Large Baking Pans - two
A medium-sized mixing bowl
A Hand Mixer
A Wooden Spoon
Butter, unsalted, 3/4 cups
Sugar, white granulated, 1 cup
Eggs, two whole eggs
Pure Vanilla, 1 teaspoon
All-purpose Flour, 2-1/2 cups plus extra flour for rolling out dough
Baking Powder, 1 teaspoon
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Optional for decorating: cinnamon, sugar, icing or frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cookies bake for about 11-12 minutes or until slightly browned around the cookie.
In a mixing bowl, put the butter into the bowl and put the sugar on top of the butter in the mixing bowl.
With the hand mixer on low setting, blend the sugar into the butter until creamy smooth.
Crack eggs into the butter-sugar mixture.
Add the vanilla to the mixture also.
Blend the eggs and vanilla into the mixture in the bowl on low setting.
Add the flour, the baking powder and the salt into the above mixture and blend into the mixture in the bowl with the wooden spoon.
With all ingredients blended together, wrap the cookie dough into two round balls, flatten with your clean hands into two-inch thickness portions and wrap in plastic wrap.
Put the wrapped cookie dough into the refrigerator for a least one hour before rolling out to cut into shapes for baking.
When cookie dough is chilled, remove plastic wrap and sprinkle a little bit of flour on the clean surface to roll out the dough to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. (flour the rolling pin also while rolling out the dough.)
With a cookie cutter, cut out shapes and put uncooked cookies onto lined baking pan with parchment paper.
Combine cookie dough into a smaller ball after cutting out cookie shapes and repeat cutting shapes from the smaller ball of dough that has been rolled out again.
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar onto the cookie before baking or just after taking the cookies out of the oven when they are still warm.
After baking, take the cookies off the baking pan with a spatula and put them on baking racks.
Icing or frosting should be done when the cookies have cooled down to room temperature.