Monday, May 18, 2009

Princess Cookies

Now that my grandmother has passed, one thing I will always treasure is our experience in the kitchen. My grandfather owned his own business and his office was in the basement of their house. Everyday, my grandmother would make a full lunch for all the employees including dessert. I will always remember her standing at the counter icing the cake before everyone came up for lunch. I loved it that she would let my sister and me help.

Now that I have my own kids, I try to involve them as much as possible whenever I cook. I love the fact that my three year old will stop playing whenever I have the mixer on and ask if she can pull a chair over and help. There are certain things I quickly learned while baking with her, namely patience and not caring about a mess!

This past Christmas, my mom gave my daughter a set of princess cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma. To me, they are quite possibly the greatest gift she could have gotten as we have spent many an afternoon together since cutting out cookies and decorating them together. I always make sure I have an ample supply of sprinkles and parchment paper on hand as the more sprinkles the better (not so easy to clean up without the parchment paper). The first time my husband saw the cookies she decorated, he kind of looked at me wondering whether I was expecting him to eat them (see the picture below and you will understand). But he saw how excited she was about her cookies so he did, and with a smile on his face.

Whether you have kids to make these cookies with or not, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. They have a nice buttery flavor and are crisp without being crumbly. And don't worry, only so many of the sprinkles can actually stick to the cookie when they are done baking, so just let the kids have fun!

Sugar Cookie Dough
from Williams Sonoma

1 Cup Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Egg Yolks*
1 1/2 t Vanilla
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until well combined.

Divide the dough into four equal sections and form into a ball. Flatten each ball of dough into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least two hours (best overnight).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (otherwise butter the cookie sheet).

Roll out each disc to 1/4 inch thickness. Use your cookie cutters to cut out your cookies. Place on the tray. When I decorate with sprinkles, I normally brush the cookie with a little egg white to help them stick. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
*Save the egg whites to brush on the cookies before decorating with sprinkles or to make royal icing.

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