I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday season this year! Mike and I had a very casual, stress free Christmas day which was pretty damn perfect. We went out for Chinese and then saw Django Unchained, since we’re both Tarantino fans. I also made these cookies which were pretty damn perfect too.
Sadly, I can’t take credit for the ridiculously cute Snowman and Santa belt cookie design. The idea came from browsing a Cheryl’s catalogue I got in the mail this year. The decorating is easy and fairly quick which is right up my alley – I don’t enjoy spending excessive amounts of time decorating a cookie that will probably be consumed in under a minute. Sorry!
Giant Soft Sugar Cookies with Buttercream FrostingAdapted, slightly from Cooking Classy Makes 12 Jumbo size Cookies The recipe below is for Vanilla Buttercream, but feel free to experiment; these would be delicious with a lemon or raspberry buttercream or a light cream cheese frosting too. Recipe also doubles easily!
Cookies2 1/2 cups cake flour 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature 1/4 cup all vegetable shortening (unflavored), at room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 1 large egg white 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Vanilla Buttercream1/3 cup salted butter, at room temperature 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1-2 drops of almond extract 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons half-and-half food coloring, optional
For the Cookies
Sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Whisk a few times; set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whip butter, shortening and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy; about 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and mixing paddle as needed. Add in egg and mix until well combined. Add in remaining egg white, vanilla and almond extract and mix thoroughly. With mixer running on medium-low, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just to incorporate. Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate 2 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F during the last 10 minutes of refrigeration.
Scoop dough out an even 1/4 cup at a time, or portion with a scale (mine were about 64 grams each), and roll into a ball. Place dough ball on lightly floured surface, sprinkle top lightly with flour. Flatten dough to 1/2″ thick using a smooth, flat object (cookie will be about 2 5/8″ – 2 3/4″ after flattening). Transfer cookie to a parchment lined, or buttered cookie sheet and repeat process with remaining dough (use 2 cookie sheets). Bake in pre-heated oven for 9 – 11 minutes, until centers just puff, and do not indent when lightly touched. Allow cookies to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely. Frost and decorate.
For Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, of a stand or hand electric mixer. Whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Frost and decorate cookies. If decorating with sprinkles, be sure to add sprinkles immediately after frosting each cookie, so they stick.
For Snowman and Santa Belt Decorations
I recommend using concentrated dies, like Wilton Concentrated Icing Coloring, so the texture of the frosting does not change. For the Snowman’s eyes, mouth, and carrot nose, I used a Wilton #5 circle tip, but any small round tip will work. For the black belt on the Santa cookie, I used a Wilton #102 tip (usually used for flower petals), but a medium size basket weave tip would also work. For the Santa buckle, I used a Wilton #3 round tip.