No matter what the holiday or occasion sugar cookies are colorful reminders of love and caring. Easter really snuck up on me this year. One minute I was working on a new doll pattern and the next minute a friend was calling for Easter cookies. Sugar cookies are the easiest to make but rather tasteless so I tweaked the recipe with a bit of cardmom and some homemade vanilla extract. A couple drops of almond extract add a nice flavor to the Royal Icing and doesn’t muddle the cardamom flavor of the cookie.
Time was of the essence while I iced and decorated the baked cookies and hoped the icing would dry before placing them in individual bags with ribbon ties. Ribbon? Well no time to shop for ribbons so a pink plastic bag, cut into strips, was the remedy. Then, just to be generous I made a felt bunny to add to the basket (link to pattern below) . And when the basket was all done and on its way out the door I suddenly remembered I didn’t take any photos…duh! The photo below is from Rhea’s iphone. The felt bunny is the star rather than the cookies but its all good until next year. I used the cookies cutters as depicted in the photo at the right. Needless to say Rhea was delighted with the basket of decorated cookies and the felt bunny.
Couple of tips for making crisp cookies:
1) Chill the dough at least 2 hours
2) Cut off a piece of chilled dough just big enough to roll for one cookie
3) Sprinkle a piece of plastic wrap with flour, place the dough on the flour, sprinkle the top lightly with more flour and cover with another piece of plastic wrap, then roll to desired thickness (1/4-inch to 3/8-inch thick), remove the top plastic and cut with a floured cookie cutter. If the dough is cold enough the cut-out will be easy to release and transfer to the baking sheet using the plastic wrap.
4) Place the baking sheet with the cut-outs in the freezer until firm – this will prevent them from spreading during baking. I like to use parchment paper on the baking sheets – comes in handy if you want to move the chilled cut-outs and for easy release when baked.
- 1 cup butter at room temperature (use salted butter)
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (pure vanilla or homemade vanilla extract)
- 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- Cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
- Whisk the cardamom with the flour and add to the butter cream in 3 additions. The dough will be quite soft.
- Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and cover it completely shaping it into a rectangle or disc.
- Chill the dough until firm, at least 2 hours. Roll and cut-out cookies (see tips above).
- Bake in a preheated 350° F. oven until barely browned on the edges, about 15 minutes, depending on thickness of cookie. Lightly touch the center of a cookie to check for doneness. The less it gives, the more done is the cookie.