Momâ€™s Sugar Cookies with Butter Frosting: Feel the Love!!!
When I think of Mom, I think of warm cookies. I’ve just walked the three blocks home from school, enduring chilling rain, a crisp fall nip, or bitter Indiana winter. Throwing open the front door and patting our enthusiastically wagging dog, I yell, “Mom! I’m home!” A delicious aroma wafts from the kitchen. Mom is pulling a sheet of sugar cookies out of the oven. She drops one off the spatula onto a plate for me and spoons a large dollop of butter frosting onto it. As the frosting melts, I place red hots on top, decorating as I eat. I take my plate over to the breakfast half of the kitchen, perch on the washing machine (since Dad isn’t home I can get away with it), and swing my legs as I devour my prize. Who says love can’t be handed to you on a plate?
These cutout cookies are easy to make, only requiring time and patience. If you take these to your family holiday get-togethers, you’ll become famous for them and your loved ones will beg you to bring them every year. The most critical steps are to make them thick and not to over-bake the cookies! You don’t want them to be hard and dry and crunchy. You should take them out the moment you see a blush of golden brown on the edges, so they’ll be thick, soft, chewy and melt in your mouth.
In my family, we had these every Christmas and Valentine’s Day. They’re a great cookie for any occasion that you have a cookie cutter to suit (shamrock, bunny rabbit, jack-o-lantern, turkey, etc.) When I did Iditarod talks for our boys’ classes, I used to take dog bone shaped cookies to give to all the “good dogs.”
Here’s to making memories!
I love you, Mom.
Mom’s Sugar Cookies
Triple Recipe (double recipe in parentheses at end)
2 cups Crisco (reg. not butter) (1 1/3 c.)
2 ¼ c. sugar (1 ½ c.)
3 eggs (2)
1 ½ tsp. real vanilla (1 tsp.)
6 cups flour (I use all-purpose unbleached) (4 cups)
4 ½ tsp. baking powder (3 tsp)
¾ tsp. salt (½ tsp.)
¼ cup milk (I use skim) (two-thirds of ¼ cup)
Cream shortening and sugar together thoroughly (I stir by hand with a strong spoon in a mixing bowl). Add eggs and stir until mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Chill for about 1 hour.
Roll out on floured waxed paper (or counter or bread board) to a little less than ¼ inch thick and cut with shaped cookie cutters. Waxed paper makes them easier to pick up and put on the sheet because you can fold the waxed paper up and drop the cookie onto your hand. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Decorate with colored sugar or red hots if desired (I bake them plain and frost before decorating). Bake in 350 oven for about 7 minutes--the secret to perfect sugar cookies is to bake them as little as possible--as soon as you see any golden brown along the bottom edge, pull them out! Cool on cookie sheet and then on cooling racks. Experience the bliss of eating warm with frosting, but to keep or give away, frost when cool, or freeze & frost later.
Mom's Butter Frosting for Sugar Cookies
1 stick real butter
5 cups confectioner's sugar
2 ½ tsp. real vanilla
5 Tbsp. milk (I use skim)
Melt butter. Add vanilla and milk. Sift confectioner's sugar. I don't sift the dry ingredients in the sugar cookie dough, but I do sift the powdered sugar to remove lumps and make the frosting smooth. Add confectioner's sugar until frosting is a nice thick, spreadable consistency. Warm cookies frosted are heavenly to eat!!! For ones you plan to save until later, wait until they’re cool to frost. I usually make the dough one day and refrigerate it, cut out and bake the cookies another day and freeze them, and then frost the cookies on a third day. That spreads out the amount of work. You can have a cookie-a-thon and do it all at once. You can decorate the frosted cookies with colored sugar and red hots. The cookies freeze well. If you're going to keep them at room temperature, make sure you keep them in a Tupperware container or tin that seals closed tightly. I use waxed paper between layers once they're frosted, but just stack them to freeze when they're plain cookies. Enjoy!