As if plain sugar cookies aren’t enough to start heart palpitations and have you bouncingsugar-cookies-chanukah_0005 off the walls with a sugar high, let’s coat them with sugar icing! There is no thought of balancing flavors or textures here, just sweet and crunch. I saw a hint somewhere of using squeeze bottles with medium fine tips rather than traditional piping bags to decorate cookies. At about $1 each, what go wrong? As it turned out, they worked great and provided squeexe-bottlemore fine motor control than piping.

I “piped” the edges of the cookies with a fairly thick batch of colored, or not, icing to make a damn dam. Be careful not to try to sugar-cookies-christmas_0005pipe thick icing. #1, it plugs the tip and “b” it takes a lot force (read: tired and cramping fingers and hands here). Once the damn dam is dried flood the inside with thinner frosting. Poke any holes with a toothpick. Let dry, probably overnight.

INGREDIENTS

COOKIES

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

ICING

  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice

Method

  1. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; freeze until firm, at least 20 minutes, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. Remove one dough disk; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting dough with flour as needed. Cut shapes with cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets. (If dough gets soft, chill 10 minutes.) Reroll scraps; cut shapes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Bake, rotating halfway through, until edges are golden, 10 to 18 minutes (depending on size). Cool completely on wire racks. To ice cookies, spread with the back of a spoon. Let the icing harden, about 20 minutes. Decorate as desired.
  4. For the icing, sift confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl. Mix water and lemon juice. Whisk in water/lemon juice mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thin, whisk in more sugar; if too thick, add more liquid. Spread over cookies with back of a spoon. Add other decorations, if desired. Let the icing harden, about 20 minutes.

NOTES

Use flour on utensils to keep dough from sticking: Dip the cookie cutters, and dust the spatula before transferring uncooked dough to a sheet. You can store cookies in airtight containers at room temperature, up to 1 week.

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