This fall, my sister is studying abroad in Europe. While this is a fabulous opportunity for her, we were very sad that she would be missing much of autumn at home, which includes Thanksgiving - her favorite meal of the entire year. That is why my family decided to celebrate with a Thanksgiving dinner a little early! We had turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, homemade bread - the whole nine yards. And to get us into the fall spirit, I recruited some help from our other sister to make Fall Leaves Sugar Cookies. These marbled cookies are a fun, festive way to celebrate the season for sharing!
To begin, combine your butter and sugar in a large bowl until it's a creamy consistency.
Add the egg, milk and almond extract and mix well. Then, turn your mixer down to low speed and add the flour and baking powder.
Now divide the sugar cookie dough into three bowls. Add a few drops of red food coloring into one bowl, yellow food coloring into the second, and then a combination of the red and yellow (making orange) in the final bowl.
Stir the food coloring into the dough, adding more, if needed. I tried to make the color pretty strong, so I could be sure the marbled-effect would be distinct when rolled out.
Scoop each color dough out of the bowl onto its own sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Shape it into a ball, then squish it down into a fat pancake. Fold the wrapping around it and put the three dough discs into your refrigerator to cool until firm (2-3 hours).
Set your oven to 400 degrees F. Now, dust your cutting board with flour so the dough won't stick. Cut each disc of dough in half, leaving the extra half in the fridge so it stays cool until you're ready for that round of cookies. Break chunks of the dough off and place them in a random mixture - a good job for kids to help with, especially since the dough looks like modeling clay!
Use your hands to scrunch the dough balls together so there aren't any substantial gaps.
Dust the top of the dough with a little more flour and do the same with your rolling pin (again to avoid sticking).
Roll the dough out from the middle. If you see any little gaps where the dough isn't binding together, just use your finger to lightly push it together. Spread the dough as evenly as you can until it's 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick (depending on how thin and crispy you like your sugar cookies to be).
Now is the time to break out your festive cookie cutters! Leaf shapes are great, but you could also experiment with other shapes.
Use a thin spatula to lift the cookie shapes off the cutting board and onto your cookie sheet - keeping the cookies an inch apart. Carefully push together the dough that's left over from your first cut-outs, and re-roll them to make more cookies (these ones will just be a little more marbled).
Add a little sparkle to your cookies by decorating them with colored sugars. You can either purchase these at your local grocery store, or you can make them yourself by combining regular sugar with a drop of food coloring.
Bake the cookies for 7 - 9 minutes or until they are lightly browned around the edges. After removing them from the oven, cool them for one minute on the cookie sheet, then place them on a cooling rack until ready to serve. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they kept their marbled coloring. Then my family gobbled up these Thanksgiving-worthy treats!
Enjoy these Fall Leaves Sugar Cookies in the autumn, or try marbling different colors for other events - like pink and purple flower cut-outs for a little girl's birthday party. Try, rate and review this recipe, and then post your ideas below, too, for customizing these yummy sugar cookies!
There's one more cookie I want to show you how to make, so check back on Monday to see this fun new recipe for fall!