Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quick Sugar Cookies (The 2nd Sweet of Christmas)

"The second sweet of Christmas my true love made for me...."

This past Saturday morning, I rolled out of bed about forty-five minutes before I had to leave for my church's annual craft show and bake sale.  As a member of the choir, I was on "kitchen duty".  I also realized, to my chagrin, that I had nothing baked for the bake sale.

This really wasn't that big of a deal because we ended up with lots of donated goodies.  But I felt really bad because what if nobody brought anything?!?  I have a bad habit of worrying about these sorts of things and taking responsibility for stuff like this.  And I don't know if it's my upbringing or what, but I couldn't go empty handed.  It just would've felt.... wrong.  So I embarked on an early morning speed-baking adventure.

I knew I wouldn't have time to bake anything and have it be completely cool before I had to leave, but my husband would be showing up for kitchen duty (he's also a member of the choir) later in the morning and could bring my goodies with him.  But what can you make in a half hour?

You can make sugar cookies.

These cookies are exceedingly easy and quick to whip up. They're perfect for that evening when you get a phone call from those old friends who no longer live in town but happen to be around for the holidays and, "We'd like to stop by later and visit!"  But you have nothing sweet in the house to offer your guests.

I swear on my life, I had the first tray of cookies in the oven in about seven minutes flat.  That's how quick they are to make.  And if you have a cookie scoop (like me) it's even easier than if you're dropping them by teaspoon with actual, you know, teaspoons.

They're not an overly sweet cookie, either, and you can dress them up for company in a variety of ways.  You can make a glaze (and tint it festive colors) to drizzle over the top, with or without sprinkles.  You can dust them with powdered sugar.  You could melt some milk chocolate and pipe pretty designs on top.  Or just serve them up with coffee and tea and give your guests the option to dunk.
Sugar Cookies
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 scant cups flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugar and shortening together until light.  It will look like coarse crumbs.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Add dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms.
  5. Drop by teaspoon (or cookie scoop) onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. (My oven is pretty accurately temped, so 12 minutes was perfect for me.)
You can serve these warm from the oven (which is when they're best, I think), or let them cool completely.  They'll keep several days in an airtight container - if they last that long.

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