Sugar cookies are always a tradition in my family around the holidays (usually Valentines, Halloween and Christmas). They taste fabulous, but I'm not going to lie they are a PAIN if you do the whole ordeal in one day. I made that mistake as a newlywed trying to be the cute domestic little wife to impress my sweets but by the end of the night I hated everything and everyone- my bosch, myself, the stupid cookies, even my sweets for trying to remind me that cookies aren't that big of a deal... Hopefully some of you can relate. I have since learned that frosted sugar cookies can be pleasant, if you split the process up into 3 days. This recipe has been passed down by my darling little grandma Tecla, and I hate to say it to all you contenders out there but I really think it is the best sugar cookie recipe out there. Yep. I said it. If you don't believe me, try it out for yourself and let me know what you think. :)
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup shortening (I like the Crisco sticks)
3/4 cup butter (not margarine)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
dollop of sour cream (this is a recent addition from my sister Amanda, and it gives a perfect little puffiness to the cookies)
Blend sugar, shortening and butter well (ideally in your Bosch... if you have a kitchen aid I will forgive you but will convince you in a later post why a Bosch is sooo worth the money even though it might not look as cute as the kitchen aid sitting on your counter). Add eggs, vanilla and almond flavorings and sour cream; beat well. Add flour 1 cup at a time until dough is stiff.
Wrap dough in wax paper and refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled. For a batch this size, I suggest wrapping 2 separate little blobs so that the dough doesn't warm up too much while you are rolling and cutting out your shapes the next day. As the dough warms up, it becomes very difficult to keep the cookies in their shapes while moving them to the cookie sheet.Bake cookies at 375 for approximately 10 minutes until they are slightly golden around the edges and nice and puffy. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Once completely cooled, you can store them in a Tupperware container and either refrigerate them if you plan on frosting the next day, or freeze if you need more time till frosting day. Day 2 is finished!
Day 1 is finished! Your cookie dough can stay overnight (and really even several days) in your fridge if you aren't ready to bake the next day.
Roll out dough onto floured surface and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. A darling little helper is suggested, but not mandatory :)
Butter Cream Frosting ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cube butter
1/4 cup half and half (or more as needed for consistency)
1 tsp vanilla
Cream cheese (optional)
Melt butter in microwave in medium sized mixing bowl. Add about 1/4 cup half and half. Add powdered sugar slowly while mixing. Add vanilla. Continue to add half and half as needed to obtain a thick and creamy consistency. (Occasionally I add a a few Tbsp cream cheese for a slightly richer flavor... it's up to you!)
Scoop frosting into separate bowls, add your desired coloring to each bowl and frost away! This is the fun part for the kiddos to help. We like to add little treats and shapes to our cookies. This year's Halloween cookies are NOT the most beautiful or creative due to lack of time, but they still tasted fabulous!