A foot of snow fell yesterday in the Boston area. School was cancelled. Our neighborhood quickly went from gray to winter white. The streets were quiet except for the occasional snow plow, but our house was buzzing with excitement. The kids and our dog, Alice, love snow. After some time lounging around in their pjs, C & G decided it was time to explore the new winter wonderland just outside our door. I wrestled them into their snow gear and off they went. The snow fell steadily. I watched them from the kitchen window. I love watching C & G play when they don’t know it. They ran around in circles, occasionally stopping to turn their faces to the sky, open their mouths and let the snow kiss their tongues. Alice followed their lead, only stopping to shake off the snow when too much covered her fluffy blonde fur. Happy and free from the house, they ran around and around each other. I thought: quick take a picture of this. Post this. Document this somehow. Instead of grabbing my phone or camera, I watched. I just watched and it was nice. Not everything needs to be documented or shared or liked. Some moments are just for me, just for my memory.
After a while they came inside, tired from the fresh air. I kissed their cold, rosy red cheeks, hung up their snow gear to dry and made lunch. After lunch, we decided it was a good day to make Valentine cookies. I prepped the sugar cookie dough and decorations while they zoned out in front of the TV.
My favorite sugar cookie recipe comes from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook. Her recipe is simple, yet delicious. I never alter it in any way because I think it is the perfect sugar cookie recipe. The cookies are chewy on the inside with just enough crispness on the outside. A whole tablespoon of good quality vanilla extract perfectly flavors the cookies. This recipe is my go to for any holiday or cookie swap. We used heart shape cookie cutters in different sizes. The kids had a hard time resisting the raw dough. I did too! The cookies baked at 350 for about 17 minutes and then cooled on the baking sheet for 30 minutes. (Cooling cookies on the baking sheet will make them chewy.) I then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. I found a recipe for pourable royal icing from I am Baker here. This icing is much easier for the kids to handle. No piping or flooding required! They simply dipped the cookies face down into the icing and then added sprinkles. I set aside a few cookies to decorate with melted semi-sweet chocolate. Bubba loved the addition of the chocolate, but he also loves chocolate. The dough will yield about 2 dozen 2 and 1/2 inch cookies. The cookies will last in air tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, but I doubt they will last that long. Enjoy!
Holiday Sugar Cookies
recipe from Flour by Joanne Chang
makes about 2 dozen 21/2 inch cookies
1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
sprinkles, non-pareils, colored sugar for decorating
Chocolate Dipped Ingredients:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Pourable Icing Ingredients:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp. milk
squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
food coloring, if desired
The recipe for pourable royal icing is here.
Directions: Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Be sure to stop the mixer a few times and scrap down the sides of the bowl. Once the butter and sugar is light and fluffy, beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and beat again to make sure the eggs and vanilla are thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. On low-speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Press the down the dough to form a disk about 8 inches across. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 5 days. (The dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. If the dough is frozen, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then let sit at room temperature for an hour before rolling out.)
While the dough is chilling pre-heat the oven to 350 and prep your icing, decorations and melted chocolate. Once the dough is firm and ready to use, lightly flour a cutting board or work surface. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. If the dough or surface gets too sticky, sprinkle on some more flour. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place them on a baking sheet. Gather up any scraps and roll them out again. If the dough gets to warm, put it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes and then proceed.
Bake the cookies for about 15-17 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool dip a quarter or half of the cookie into melted semi-sweet chocolate. Then dip into sprinkles, sanding sugar etc. Allow to dry before storing in an air-tight container. Enjoy!
5 Cookies You Should Try For Valentine’s Day
If you like chocolate covered cherries, try them in cookie form! A Farm Girl Dabbles has the recipe for you.
Strawberries and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. If you are tired of the traditional strawberry desserts, try making strawberry sugar cookies this year. Head here for the recipe.
Do you love thin mints? Make your own in 15 minutes with just 3 ingredients.
One of my new favorite food blogs is Pastry Affair. The recipes are fantastic and the photos are beautiful. The brownie cookie recipe is a must try this holiday.
I love milk chocolate in cookies. Brown Eyed Baker takes a simple chocolate chip cookie to a new level by adding cashews and sea salt. Yum! Find her recipe here.