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Foodie Fridays: Sugar Cookies
Posted by Guest in Foodie Fridays
Many of us have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. We here at FGG are thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know our community of new friends, and we hope you're having as much fun as we are! As the year comes to a close and we take stock of our good fortune, it's also important to remember that there are many people in our communities who are struggling through difficult times and need a little help. That's why this year I chose to get involved with a great non-profit called Drop In & Decorate (more on my party tomorrow over at Culinography).

Drop In & Decorate was founded by a fellow food blogger, Lydia Walshin. Their mission is to help people build bridges of caring and respect between groups within their own communities . . . with cookies! Set aside a little time, gather a few co-workers, kids, friends or family, and before you know it, you're ready to donate cookies to a nonprofit agency serving basic human needs in your community. What a great way to send a little good out into the world--during the holidays or any other time of year!

This experience has given me something I'd been missing out on until this year: the joy of decorating sugar cookies. I'm amazed at the fun I was missing. Not only are sugar cookies easy to whip up (and using things most of us have in our kitchens), but you can also let your creativity run wild with the shapes, icing colors, and decorations. Each one can truly be an original work of art.

Why not spend a little time this weekend decorating cookies? And, if you're so inclined, consider making someone's day a little brighter by donating some or all of your creations as part of the Drop In & Decorate initiative. And have fun making, savoring, and sharing your goodies!

Sugar Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 egg
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl/bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until fully combined. Add the flour mixture in three parts and beat until just combined, scraping down the bowl occasionally.

Roll out dough on a floured surface to approximately 1/4 inch and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size

Royal Icing
(courtesy of Lydia @ The Perfect Pantry)
1 lb + scant 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
5 Tbsp meringue powder
1/2 cup cool water (add more, a teaspoon at a time, if needed for desired consistency)
A few drops of paste food coloring

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine first three ingredients and mix on low speed until glossy and fluffy, 7-8 minutes. To color, place some icing in a small bowl or plastic cup, and stir in a few drops of food coloring until desired shade is reached. Royal Icing hardens quickly when exposed to air, so use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container; it will keep overnight at room temperature. Beat well before using.

Yield: 2-1/2 cups, enough for one batch of large cookies.

Looking for more great recipes? Visit my blog at
http://culinography.wordpress.com