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Sugar Cookies From Martha Stewart's Christmas

Author/Submitted by:
Servings: 1
Categories: Cookies / Desserts

1/2  c  (1 stick) unsalted butter
1  c  Granulated sugar
2  c  Sifted all-purpose flour
1/4  ts  Salt
1/2  ts  Baking powder
1  lg  Egg, lightly beaten
2  tb  Brandy
1/2  ts  Vanilla extract
    Royal Icing:
1  c  Sifted confectioners' sugar
1  lg  Egg white
    Food coloring

Note: For white, I get some of that Wilton's white brightener. For other colors, I use the Wilton's paste colors. You can't beat their brilliance. Cream the butter and sugar. Sift together the dry ingredients; add to the butter mixture and beat well. Add the egg, brandy, and vanilla and beat again until well mixed. Shape dough into two flattened rounds, wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. [This is important, as otherwise the dough is too soft to roll out. In fact, I had trouble after the first few cookies because my kitchen was so hot, the dough got soft too fast.] Preheat the oven to 325 deg F. and line thick baking sheets with parchment paper. [Personally, I use those "cool-bake" sheets and some Pam as parchment paper is expensive and hard to come by.] On a well-floured board, roll out the dough until 1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into shapes and set 1 to 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake for 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Cool on racks. Mix the confectioners' sugar and egg white; divide among small bowls and tint each a different color. Spread or pipe onto the cooled cookies and allow to set. [Note: If piping icing on, it will have to be a thicker consistency. When coating the whole cookie, it can be a bit thinner, though not too thin. I "dip" the cookie face into the bowl of icing, then take a butter knife and "smooth" the icing. This will get rid of any air bubbles in the icing. I place the cookies on a baking rack over some wax paper until the icing hardens. If doing more that one color on the same cookie, let the underneath coat dry completely before using other colors to decorate. The colors will be less likely to run this way. A few final notes from my experience: (1) Thicken icing by adding more confectioners' sugar; thin by using more egg white. (2) If you want nice looking white icing you MUST get some of the icing white stuff that Wilton or another bakery supply company puts out. It just isn't very pretty without it. (3) Classic cut-out shapes work really well for these cookies, hearts, diamonds, teapots, stars. Makes for very old- fashioned-looking stuff. Piping on white icing like lace around the edges is very pretty. Add a few squiggles or dots elsewhere on the cookies. (4) These cookies taste GREAT on top of everything else! --

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