December is definitely the time to unleash your inner cookiemaker. In my mind, the holidays just aren’t complete without cookies…and cookies just aren’t complete without butter. Sooooo, the holidays just aren’t complete without butter. (That was a logical conclusion, right? I’m having a flashback to SAT prep at the moment.)
If you want to bake some cookies that aren’t your typical sugar or gingerbread cookies, try these Cinnamon Sugar Cut-Out Cookies. They’re made with cinnamon sugar (like the kind you’d sprinkle on cinnamon toast) and of course, Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter. The combination of the cinnamon, butter and a little salt makes these cookies something special; they’re perfect for cutting into shapes and decorating.
The cookies themselves are so good, you might not have any left for decorating. If you do, how about making some pastel holiday cookies? (My boys are pretty good about putting up with all of the “girly” things around the house, but this cookie version of a pink tree may be the closest I’ll ever get to one in real life.)
To decorate the cookies, you’ll need Cinnamon Sugar Cut-Out Cookies (recipe follows) and Royal Icing, divided and tinted: pastel pink, green, blue, light brown, and white.
Other decorating supplies:
· Disposable piping bags
· Icing coupler and tips: #2, #3
· Squeeze bottles
· Pink pearl nonpareils
· Sanding sugar
· Meringue powder
· Small (clean) paintbrush
To ice the cookies, use a #2 tip to outline the trees in the pastel icings.
Thin the rest of the pastel icing and all of the white with water, a bit at a time, stirring with a silicone spatula, until it is the consistency of a thick syrup. You'll want to drop a "ribbon" of icing back into the bowl and have it disappear in a count of "one thousand one, one thousand two." Four is too thick, one is too thin. A count of 2 or 3 is good. Cover with a damp dishcloth and let sit for several minutes.
Stir gently with a silicone spatula to pop and large air bubbles that have formed. Pour into squeeze bottles.
Fill in the outline, using a toothpick to guide into the edges and to pop large air bubbles. Let the icing dry for at least one hour.
Thin the brown icing as above, to a thicker consistency…until a knife run through the middle of the icing. You’ll want to thin to the point where it comes back together in a count of 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer this icing to a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip, and make a trunk by piping in a zig-zag motion. The icing will flow together.
Use a #2 tip to add garland across the cookies. While the icing is still wet, use (clean) tweezers to place the pink nonpareils on it.
Let the cookies dry uncovered, 6 to 8 hours, or overnight.
The next day, mix ½ teaspoon each meringue powder and water. Brush this mixture onto the white garland, then sprinkle on the sanding sugar. Shake off the excess.
Cinnamon Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
Yield: 12 to 18 cookies, depending on the cookie cutter size
· 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
· 2 teaspoons baking powder
· ½ teaspoon kosher salt
· 1 cup Land O Lakes® Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into chunks
· ¾ cup granulated sugar
· ¼ cup cinnamon sugar*
· 1 egg
*if not using pre-mixed cinnamon sugar, combine on a ratio of 9 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and cinnamon sugar until combined and fluffy. Mix in the egg. In three additions, add the flour mixture, mixing on low just until combined.
Roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness with a floured rolling pin on a well-floured surface. (The dough may need to be kneaded together to incorporate any crumbly bits.) Place the cut-out shapes onto a prepared cookie sheet and freeze for 5 to 10 minutes before baking to prevent spreading.
Bake 9 to 12 minutes, or until done. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Decorate with royal icing.
Bake at 350 has partnered with Land O'Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of Land O Lakes® Butter for their Kitchen Conversations blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O'Lakes.