I've had some people asking for my recipe for making beautiful Christmas Cookies. Here we go.
Martha's Christmas Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
***COOKING LESSON....I only use "real" butter...no subs! I use Martha White flour exclusively! I use Domino or Imperial Sugar....why? Because it has a finer texture than "cheap" sugar. Never use "imitation" vanilla or almond flavoring...get the real deal...Vanilla Extract! Make sure your baking powder and baking soda is FRESH! Yes, it does expire, so if you have some in the cabinet that you bought over six months ago....toss it! You will get better results with fresh.
In advance, make sure you have plenty of PARCHMENT PAPER, a rolling pin, cookie cutters, decorations, meringue powder (it is expensive, but I always get a better product than using fresh egg whites) Wal Mart does carry it - in the Celebrations Department...with Wilton cake pans, etc., and at least 4 plastic bottles with tips .... like restaurants used for mustard or ketchup.
1. Cream butter and sugar....cream means to beat until they form a light, uniform and creamy mixture. Once sugar and butter are properly creamed, the sugar crystals will have dissolved, resulting in a smooth texture. Scrape down sides.
2. Add eggs, almond and vanilla
3. Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add very slowly to the butter cream mixture until well incorporated.
4. Roll dough into ball and cover it with plastic wrap.
5. Chill dough ball at least 30 minutes.
6. Using half of the dough at a time, roll dough out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper until 1/4 inch thick.
7. Using cookie cutters, cut out the desired shapes. Don't reuse the dough pieces over a couple of times...place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
8. Chill in fridge again by carefully moving the cookie sheet to the fridge. Chill at least 15 minutes.
9. Bake cookies for 10 minutes (depending on your oven) or until they are light in color with slight browning on the edges.
10. Cool on parchment sheet. Cookies are very fragile....especially the snowman neck!!!! Trust me, I have beheaded many snowmen!!!!
Royal Icing with a kick....
1 lb. XXX Confectioners Sugar
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon Butter flavoring
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Almond extract
Mix confectioners sugar, meringue powder, water and flavors together until nice and fluffy.
Take out part of this thick icing for your borders...you can add color to this if you do not want white borders on your cookie.
Gradually add water to the icing to make a thinner icing to "float" the inside of the border of the cookie. You can add coloring if you do not want white.
I fill one plastic bottle with the thick icing, one with the "float" frosting, one with a colored icing I am using and one with a colored "float" icing if I am doing that.
TRICK....How do you get the icing in those little plastic bottles???? I use quart zip lock bags. They are easy to fill then I zip them up...cut off a little of the corner at the bottom and squirt that right into the bottle...NO MESS!
*I don't use much black...it just has a bitter taste. I just outline the snowman's hat. I buy the black in tubes at the store....impossible to make it.
I hope these work out for you....don't hesitate to call or email me if you need help!