My BFF Joy is back to give us another favorite family recipe for the holidays. Sugar cookies are a weakness of mine, so when Joy had me try these years ago, back in college, I could have eaten the entire batch if left alone. Over the weekend we had a cookie decorating party with Oliver and my two nieces and I found myself, once again, eating these uncontrollably – they were just as good as I remembered. That’s why I’m super excited that Joy’s mom agreed to let us post this coveted Angelle family recipe to the blog (Thanks, Sandy!!).
Here’s Joy with her words on this delicious cookie recipe.
Alright ladies and gents, I am back today sharing with you one of my family’s favorite holiday recipes – my mother’s sugar cut-out cookies. My mom found this cookie recipe 50 years ago (she still has the original magazine cut-out in her recipe book) in The American Home Magazine, December, 1964, and these cookies have been a reoccurring star ever since. For as long as I can remember, these cookies have been part of our family tradition. Mom would let us help her make the dough and pick out cookie cutters to press into it after she rolled it out. I’d drag my chair over to the oven and stand watching the little cut-out cookies, making sure they baked up perfectly. Then my mom would line the breakfast bar with wax paper and get out every sprinkle we had in the cupboard with the younger kids sitting in an assembly-line fashion, passing one cookie at a time with frosting down to each kid so they could hurry and decorate it before the icing dried. The older kids would take the finished cookies away to let them dry so our decorating operations ran smoothly. Having 7 kids in the house, you get your assembly line working better than a factory. One kid would have the responsibility, or should I say honor, of being chosen to make my older brother Earl’s special cutout cookie. He loved the little red hot candies and so one kid would be selected to make one big cookie and just cover it from corner to corner with red hot candies.
These cutout cookies are the PERFECT perfect perfect cutout cookie. Trust me, once you try them you will never want to spend money on any other store bought sugar cookie again, or another recipe, for that matter. The cookie is light, chewy, perfect crumb, with a hint of almond. Paired with the sweet, firm (but not too hard or crunchy) icing to balance this cookie out.
Once you try these cookies, I wouldn’t be surprised if they become a family tradition in your household too. For me, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family has. Happy Holidays!
6 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons almond extract
2 egg whites
1 pound powder sugar (1 box)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
*Optional - Instead of using egg whites, replace with Meringue Powder (ratio to eggs is on the packaging)
Sift flower, baking powder, and salt together. In a mixer, cream shortening and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add in eggs and beat well. Next add the almond extract. Stir in sifted dry ingredients and mix well.
Form dough into a ball and refrigerate, covered, for 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, stamp out shapes. Transfer cut-outs to parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. The cookies don't expand when baking so you can put them close together (about 1/8 inch apart). Bake for 6-8 minutes until the tops of the cookies are a matte finish (not shiny in the middle, or wet look). Cool on a wire rack.
Beat egg whites until white and frothy (or if using Meringue powder, follow package instructions for ratio). Beat in powder sugar and almond extract. Slowly beat in water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until frosting is of good spreading consistency. It should be thicker than icing, but thinner than cake frosting. No mark should be left from the knife of spatula when it is spread on the cookie. If the frosting tightens up as you are covering on the cookies, add a drop or two of water to restore it to the proper consistency.
Next, divide the frosting among as many bowls as there are colors. Add food coloring, a few drops at a time to make base colors.
Frost cookies. Add any sprinkles or decorations you like.
The American Home Magazine, December, 1964.