Your cookies will be the hit of the office party (or the family gathering on Christmas Eve!) when you make these delicious traditional sugar cookies. Use your choice of decorating technique: Try the Edible Tempera Color to paint your cookies before baking, or use your own favorite frosting to frost, pipe, or paint (thin the frosting and apply with a paint brush) colorful designs.
This recipe is from the most wonderful cookie book ever, Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum (William Morrow and Company, 1990). If you’re into making cookies, you should check it out: Even Francine could turn out "to die for" cookies with these recipes!
2¼ cups bleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
A little water, as needed
In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and softened butter until fluffy. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and beat until blended. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated. Add water, a few drops at a time, only until the dough starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the wrap to press the dough together to form a thick flat disc. Wrap it well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and preferably no longer than 3.
Preheat oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a one-eighth-inch thickness. Cut shapes using your favorite Christmas cookie cutters or homemade cardboard patterns. With a small angled metal spatula or pancake turner, transfer the cookies to lightly greased cookie sheets. If desired, paint the cookies with Edible Tempera Color. Reroll the scraps, chilling them first, if necessary.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the cookies begin to brown around the edges. Use a small angled metal spatula or pancake turner to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Makes about 4 dozen 3-inch cookies.
Edible Tempera Color: Lightly beat 2 large egg yolks and spoon equal amounts of them into 5 small bowls or cups. Use liquid food coloring to color each mixture. For yellow, use ½ teaspoon of yellow; for red, use ½ teaspoon of red; for green, use ¼ teaspoon of green; for blue, use ¼ teaspoon of blue; for black, use 1½ teaspoons of green, 1½ teaspoons of red, and 5 drops of blue. Use a small clean paintbrush to paint the designs on the cookies before baking.
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