Diane Prather: Sugar cookies great for holiday cut-outs

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Sugar cookies

¾ cup shortening (part butter)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon lemon flavoring or 1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the shortening and butter, sugar, eggs and flavoring. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture. Chill at least 1 hour. Then, roll out on a lightly floured board until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for six to eight minutes, or until the cookies are delicately golden. Frost or decorate as desired. Makes about four dozen (perhaps more if you use small cutters).

This past Friday and Saturday, my sister Darlene Blackford and her husband, Miner, of Rocky Ford, visited and managed to return home before the snowstorm hit. Each year they host an open house before Christmas, so they spend weeks beforehand baking goodies and freezing them.

So, Darlene brought us a tin of cookies. Such dainty little cookies — gingerbread men, pink flowers, green Christmas trees covered with sprinkles and lemon cookies. There’s also a layer of fudge or bars that we haven’t tried yet.

Darlene has inspired me to do some baking of my own, so I started searching my files for recipes. I’ve made this “Sugar cookie” recipe lots of times. The dough can be tinted with food coloring to make Christmas trees and other cut-out cookies.

This is what you’ll need to make the cookies: 3/4 cup shortening (part butter), 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon lemon flavoring or 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. The cookie baking sheets do not have to be greased.

Mix the shortening and butter, sugar, eggs and flavorings thoroughly. Then sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir into the mixture. Chill the dough for at least an hour.

Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Use a lightly floured board. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on an ungreased sheet. Bake six to eight minutes, or until delicately golden. This recipe makes about four dozen cookies.

A couple of years ago, Dar­lene gave me several sets of little cookie cutters, and I suspect that’s what she used to make her cookies, or maybe she put them through a cookie press.

The fun in making sugar cookies is in the decorating. Use sprinkles or ice with colored frosting. Enlist the help of your children, too.

Winter is here! Do you have soup or stew recipes that you’d like to share? Send them to me at P.O. Box 415, Craig, CO 81626, or call me at 824-8809. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Copyright Diane Prather, 2009.

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