Thursday, December 19, 2013

Live & Learn Thursday: Grandma's Cut Out Cookies

Life As Always
I have just been full of recipes lately.  The lovely ladies who host this blog are going to expect this all the time....
I can't make any promises.  I've just been baking because it's the holidays.
Today, I'm going to share with you a recipe that's been in my family for as long as I can remember.  My mom's sister was moving last summer, and in order to reduce her belongings, she bestowed on me the cookie cutters we use to make my Grandma's cut out cookies.  We've made them since I was little.  My brother, mom, and I would go over to my aunt's and bake cookies all day.  (I was SO excited when I was old enough to make the chocolate chip cookies all by myself!) 
Last year, we made them together at my mom's house, but this year, time is just not on our side.  My brother basically said it wasn't Christmas if no one made these cookies.  So I did.  It's the first time I've ever made them by myself, and I have to say, they turned out pretty well!
Here's how:
Grandma's Cut Out Cookies
Cookie Ingredients
  • 1 c. butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder (PLEASE NOTE: baking powder, NOT baking soda)
  • 4 eggs
Frosting Ingredients
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or shortening*
  • 5 T milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Food coloring (optional)
*I used butter.
The cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream butter and sugars.
2. Add vanilla and beat in eggs.
3. Add salt, baking powder, and flour.
4.  Turn out the dough onto a floured surface.  (The dough WILL be sticky, but I promise, it won't stay that way!)
5. Knead it a bit in the flour until it is no longer sticky.  Then roll it out and begin using your desired cookie cutter!
I started with angels. :)
It is horrifying how awful my oven looks....
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Here are my different variations:
Please forgive me now for the horrible condition of my cookie sheets....
Christmas trees


And I also made bells (see picture of completed cookies).  I must have been getting tired at this point. 
A few things I learned before I tell you about the frosting.
~Some of my cookies are a little thinner (therefore crispier) than others.  I clearly rolled the dough a little too thin for some cookies, and absolutely perfect for others. 
~If your cookies are thin like my stars and Santas are, you may want to knock a couple of minutes off of the cooking time.  (Try 8 minutes.)
~Putting flour on my counter stresses me out.  It was a little insane.
~I need to buy new cookie sheets if I'm going to take pictures of food on them....
The Icing:
1. Cream sugar and butter (or shortening) until smooth.
I swear there's butter underneath all of that powdered sugar!  (See down in the bottom left of the bowl!)
2. Gradually mix in milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff (about 5 minutes).
3.  Spoon out desired amounts into bowls and add food coloring if desired.  Mix with a spoon, and spread on each cookie with a butter knife. 
This is just my share of the cookies.  The other half went to my parents and brother. :)
Things I learned about the frosting.
1.  This may be a tad thinner than it should be.  But I literally used the rest of the bag of powdered sugar I had, and I couldn't have done anything about it if I wanted to.  SO have plenty on hand.
2. I also somehow had A LOT more frosting than we had last year.  I followed the same recipe, but we had to keep making more.  I ended up throwing a lot away.  It bothers me just to talk about it.  I don't like being wasteful, but once this stuff hardens up, I'm not sure you can really use it again anyway.
3.  It takes a lot of red food coloring to make Santa red and not pink.  That red was at least 25 drops. 
I know this post was long!  Thanks for sticking with me!  I hope you give these cut outs a try!  I'd love to hear about it if you do!


Suzanne said...

You don't need new cookie sheets. Use parchment paper to line the cookie sheets with. Your cookies will bake much better. I started this a few years ago and the results are wonderful. I'll never go back to just a cookie sheet. You can get it at the grocery store right where they sell the plastic wrap and foil.

Susannah said...

How special that you have your grandma's cookie cutters!! That recipe looks so good!

Jamie @ You Gotta Have Hart said...

I absolutely LOVE these!! And you can post recipes on the link up anytime (plus, we are going to do a link up theme for recipes/cooking lessons learned coming up too). I learned a BIG lesson the other day when I decided that I would try to bake Gingerbread cookies for the first time-- yeah, I baked the dough first and then cut the cookies. You can see the results (ugh) on my Instagram!

Sarah Alway said...

Yummy!! Aren't Grandma recipes always the best?! And we have that same set of cookie cutters at my mom's house, I think! I specifically remember the one of Santa with his pack on. :-) Thanks so much for linking up, and recipes are welcome any time!

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