The evenings around here are finally starting to get cool, and if I leave for campus early enough I even need a sweater in the mornings. Fall has always been my favorite season. I love snow, I love days at the beach, I love when it finally warms up, but there is something about the beauty and comfort of Fall that no other season can touch. It might have something to do with the fact that my hometown looks like this, and I get to wear things like this, but I love fall.
Today I wanted to share our family favorite sugar cookie recipe (read to the end for my lifesaving frosting and decorating tips). Yes, the flowers are a bit springy, but I needed something else to go with the pumpkins and I haven't stolen any leaf cookie cutters from my mom....yet.
1 1/3 C shortening
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
4 C sifted flour
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C milk
Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients and stir alternately into creamed mixture with milk.
Roll out dough (I usually do it in two sections) so is about 1/3 of an inch thick (or as desired), cut out with cookie cutters (or the top of a cup if you don't have any) and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 9 - 12 minutes.
I don't put up with any of the "using a knife to evenly spread the frosting over the whole surface" junk. It takes way too long and I never get it the way I want it. I make my frosting in a shallow bowl, and make sure that it is thin enough to dip a cookie in the bowl. Thats all it takes, dip and dry. If you are doing something with funky edges (like the flowers) you can use a toothpick to take off the additional frosting (clearly I didn't do that, just look between the petals).
Easy Decorating Idea:
I love using plain sugar to decorate sugar cookies. I like the added texture it gives their appearance, but also the options it gives you. I've done white frosting and then put food coloring in sugar to come up with lightly colored cookies (almost like making your own sprinkles). You can also chose specifically what part of the cookie you want coated (like I did with the flowers).
Put one egg white in a bowl and white sugar in another. Using a basting brush, paint the part of the cookie you want to be coated with sugar (make sure the frosting has completely hardened before doing this). Sprinkle sugar on the cookie and then dump excess sugar back into the sugar bowl.
You can do this multiple times (letting cookie dry completely in between) to use multiple colors or complex patterns (think plaid cookies). I've also used this for stripes, polka dots, and other fun designs. The greatest part? If you mess up you will still have the tastiest mistake you've ever made.