Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Cookies

As I have said before I do not claim to be a cookie decorator, however with a little more practice I'm getting better, I think.  It helps to start with a really great cookie and of any I've tried, this one provides just about the perfect foundation for decorating.

The recipe is a Southern Living clipping from several years ago and I have used it more times than I can count.  It does take some advanced planning as there is some refrigerator chilling time involved but the time is well worth the rich, buttery results.

Christmas Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted

Cream butter.  Add powdered sugar, salt and vanilla and continue beating on medium speed until well blended.  Reduce to low speed and gradually add flour, mixing until a soft dough forms.  And I guarantee, it will be very soft!

Divide dough into thirds, covering each third in plastic wrap and shaping into a disc. Refrigerate 2-24 hours.

Unwrap each disc onto a well-floured surface.  Let it warm up a bit then cover with plastic wrap and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut into desired shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Again, this dough can be very soft so you have to work quickly and carefully.  Refrigerate cookies on baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes until edges begin to brown.  Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool completely and try to resist the urge to eat them up before decorating with the icing below:

6 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
8-10 tablespoons water
food coloring

Whisk together sugar, meringue powder and lemon juice, adding enough water to reach a good spreading consistency.  Divide and add color as desired.

These cookies bake up beautifully.  They're firm and solid to handle while frosting and have I mentioned that they are delicious?  I mean what's not to love about a buttery shortbread style cookie!

Depending on your cookie cutter size and depending on how many you snitch before frosting, you can expect this recipe to yield about 24-30 cookies.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Blog Neglected

Dear Kitchen Counter,

Hi!  Remember me?  How have you been?  It's been a long time since I've written but I haven't forgotten you.  It's not like you haven't seen me.  You've actually seen me quite often.

But I confess, where this matter is concerned, I have been neglectful.

It all started with the holidays which serve to fill up the family schedule, then some annoying computer issues that hung around for way too long, and after that I suppose I just got out of the habit.  I hear it takes two weeks to form a habit and apparently it doesn't take much longer than that to UN-form a habit.

So, I hope to RE-form this particular habit during the next few weeks.  In the meantime, here are a few remembrances of our time together this past year and if I can get that habit going again I will provide more details later.

I promise.

Marinated Cheese is a favorite appetizer. Very easy and very tasty.  Wonderful with that Christmas ham.

Bacon Cheese Bites.  A special snack for the hubby who is watching his carbs.

Forget about counting carbs. I don't profess to be a cookie decorator but these shortbread cookies have a lovely lemon-tinged frosting that is a perfect compliment to my favorite buttery cookie.

A fresh blueberry "cobbler" made with fresh-picked blueberries.

And then my hubby worked his magic at the kitchen counter with a bounty of fresh summer vegetables.

Just a little bit of what has been going on at the counter.

Hope to see you again soon.

Yours truly,

The Bean Counter

P.S.  Now I must find something great to do with my new favorite spread besides just dipping apples in it, although that's not too shabby.