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Kitchen Scoop

Surprise loved ones with ‘Best Sugar Cookies Ever!’

By: Julie Cader, for the Auburn Journal
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BEST SUGAR COOKIES EVER!
Start to finish: 15 minutes preparation; at least 1 hour chill time; 8 to 10 minutes of baking time
Yield: makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on size and shape of cookie cutters.
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Old-Fashioned Confectioner’s Icing (recipe follows)

Directions
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Mix until a stiff dough forms.
Transfer the cookie dough to plastic wrap and tightly secure. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters of your choice (hearts are always nice this time of year) and gently place the cookies on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until very light gold in color. Allow to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Old-Fashioned Confectioner’s Icing
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Yield: makes about 1 cup of icing; enough for 4 dozen cookies.
ingredients
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons whole milk (however, anything from whipping cream to low-fat milk is fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring of choice
Directions
Stir together the ingredients in a medium bowl. Adjust consistency by adding sugar by the tablespoon to thicken, or adding milk by the teaspoon to thin.
Divide the icing into several bowls. Using food coloring of choice, tint the icing to desired color. Icing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before spreading on cookies.

Approximate values per 2-inch cookie: 61.5 calories (34 percent from fat), 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 11 mg cholesterol, 1 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, trace amount dietary fiber, 37 mg sodium.

What better way to say “I love you” than with a heart-shaped cookie? This recipe is a perennial favorite because you can pick any shape. But hearts are a surefire winner for Feb. 14. Every store I visit this time of year has Valentine-themed cookie-cutter shapes, so go wild.
The key to any cut-cookie recipe is using well-chilled dough. Do not try to rush this recipe. In fact, you can work ahead and chill the dough for up to 12 hours, so give yourself extra time. Besides, if you are going to bake homemade cookies for your loved ones, there’s no need to rush.
Love and thanks to my best friend Karen for sharing her grandmother’s recipe. Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!
Alicia Ross is the co-author of “Desperation Dinners!” (Workman, 1997), “Desperation Entertaining!” (Workman, 2002) and “Cheap. Fast. Good!” (Workman, 2006). Contact her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to tellus@kitchenscoop.com. Or visit the Kitchen Scoop website at KitchenScoop.com.