Sugar Cookie Fun!

Sugar Cookies 3I’ve been a cookie baker for as long as I can remember.  I have lots of fond memories of baking cookies for friends and coworkers, and who doesn’t love sneaking a taste of cookie dough.  Over the years I’ve perfected several of my cookie recipes…chocolate chip, peanut butter, snicker-doodles…but never the sugar cookie!  I’m always picking out cute cookie cutters and dreaming of the perfect sugar cookie, but never getting it right.

Well…success!  I recently visited a cute little gift shop in Winchester, Va. and found this adorable chicken cookie cutter.  Attached was a very simple recipe.  I thought, “Sure I’ll try it.”  It was so basic, only six ingredients and a couple easy steps.  They turned out great!  Maybe I was making it too complicated before.  If you are looking for a soft center cookie with lightly crisp edges this is it!

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Cream together: 1 C butter and 2/3 C sugar

Beat in:  1 egg

Add: 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 1/2 C sifted flour

Mix until all ingredients are well blended.  Chill dough 3-4 hours before rolling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll dough out 1/4″ think and cut.  Bake 8-10 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake until barely colored.  Remove from sheets and cool on wire racks.  Frost cookies or eat plain.

I iced my cookies with royal icing and added decorative sprinkles and flakes!  Check it out!

 

 

 

 

Irish Soda Bread

This morning I took a little time to try a new recipe from Cook’s Country (one of my favorite sites). The recipe is for Brown Soda Bread with Currants and Caraway. It is a nice “wheaty” bread with a slight sweetness, and quick to make – NO rising time!

It turned out quite well. We enjoyed it this morning with our omelette and later this evening toasted. Still not sure how I feel about the caraway, but the recipe is definitely a keeper! Only a couple of things I goofed on: a minute or two too long in the oven, cut my cross a little too deep and used whole wheat bread flour. Okay, so I also had a hard time waiting one hour to eat it!!

I think this loaf is very versatile and could be a great addition to any meal. I will be trying it without the caraway and also without the currants just to see how this changes the flavors.

Recipe, from Cook’s Country:
2 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1 C dried currants
1/2 C toasted wheat germ (near the oatmeal @ your grocer)
3 tblsp sugar
1 tblsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 C buttermilk
3 tblsp unsalted butter melted

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk all purpose flour, wheat flour, currants, wheat germ, sugar, caraway seeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl.

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Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until dough just comes together.

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Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and knead until cohesive mass forms, about 8 turns. Pat dough into 7 inch round and transfer to prepared sheet. Using a sharp serrated knife, make 1/4 inch deep cross about 4 inches long on top of loaf.

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Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean and loaf registers 195 degrees, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Remove bread from oven. Brush evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Transfer loaf to wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour. Serve.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

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This morning with the sun beaming into the kitchen just seemed like the perfect day for some delicious Lemon Poppy Seed Scones! Now don’t let the word scones scare you this is actually a very EASY recipe and the results are so yummy!

Next time I will take more photos, but here is the recipe from May 2011 Country Living:
Makes 8 scones
2 C all purpose flour
3 tblsp granulated sugar
2 tblsp poppy seeds (in the spice aisle)
Zest of two large lemons
1 tblsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
Glaze: 1 tblsp fresh lemon juice and 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles very coarse meal. Pour in heavy cream, then add 1/4 C lemon juice, stirring just until dough forms.

Using your hands, gather dough together and gently press into a ball. Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and shape into an 8 inch disk. Cut the disk into 8 wedges (like a pie) and separate the wedges so that they are about an inch apart. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix confectioner’s sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until smooth. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over warm scones.

Dig in…these will go quick! Enjoy the beautiful day!