December 11, 2012

12 Days of Cookies: Day the Ninth
(Almond Sugar Cookies)

Sugar cookies are important to the fragile ecosystem of the cookie box.  They break up the miles and miles of brown baked goods: ginger, molasses, chocolate, mocha....all delicious, but not particularly colorful.

Plus, how else are you supposed to meet your yearly recommended allowance of jimmies?


Or is it sprinkles?  What say you on the sprinkles/jimmies controversy?  And while we're at it, how do you feel about pop/soda?


And now that I've provoked an  Have a cookie.


These cut-outs are just a teense different from the standard.  The cookies have ground almonds for a little bit of added chew and texture [I used some almond meal I had left over from making macaroons].  And the frosting is full of my favorite wish-I-could-bathe-in-it kitchen product, almond extract.  Actually, I doubled the almond extract.  The girl likes almond extract.  Slather 'em with frosting, pour on the jimmies, and bring a little color to the season.

Almond Sugar Cookies 
slightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
in Christmas Cookies 2012

Unsalted Butter  [ 1 cup, softened ]
Sugar  [ 1 1/2 cups ]
Baking Powder  [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Salt  [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Eggs  [ 2 ]
Milk  [ 1/4 cup ]
Vanilla Extract  [ 1 teaspoon ]
Almond Extract  [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Blanched Almonds  [ Ground, 1/2 cup ]
Flour  [ 3 cups ]

Cream Cheese  [ 8 ounces, softened ]
Unsalted Butter  [ 1/2 cup, softened ]
Almond Extract  [ 1 teaspoon ]
Powdered Sugar  [ 5-6 cups ]
Food Coloring  [ as desired ]

Sprinkles, Nonpareils, Decorating Sugars, etc.  [ as desired ]         

1.   In the bowl of a mixer, beat Butter on Medium speed for 30 seconds.
2.   Mix in Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt.  Beat until fully combined.
3.   Mix in Eggs, Milk, Vanilla Extract, and Almond Extract.  Beat until fully combined.
4.   Mix in Ground Almonds and Flour until just combined.
5.   Divide Dough in half.  Flatten each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap.
6.   Refrigerate Dough until chilled but still pliable [ this will take approximately 2 hours ].

7.   Heat oven to 350 degrees.
8.   Flour your counter lightly and roll Dough until it is 1/8 inch thick.
9.   Cut Dough with 4-inch cookie cutters of your choosing.
10.   Arrange cookies at least 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
11.   Bake until edges just begin to turn light brown  [ this will take about 7 minutes ].
12.   Remove Cookies from cookie sheet and cool on wire racks.

13.   In the bowl of a mixer, on Medium speed, mix Cream Cheese, Butter, and Almond Extract.  Mixture should look fluffy.
14.   Gradually beat in 5-6 cups Powdered Sugar until Frosting reaches the consistency you want.
15.   Color frosting with Food Coloring.

16.   Decorate Cookies with Frosting and Sprinkles, Nonpareils, Edible Glitter, Decorating Sugars, or other decorations.

Makes about 50 Cookies.

[Note: this makes what might be construed as a meager amount of frosting.  If you like to be festively generous with your icing, you might want to double the recipe.]

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