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Dare to bake ‘Christmas’ cookies

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What could be better than watching 24 hours of “A Christmas Story?”


Eating sugar cookies in the shapes of leg lamps and deranged Easter bunnies AND watching the holiday movie classic!


That’s precisely what we’ll be doing in my house this Christmas, thanks to my husband, who, despite complaining about my obsession with the holiday flick, tracked down “A Christmas Story” cookie cutters along with a companion cookbook last year.


I’m sharing the sugar cookie recipe included in the cookbook, which credits Myrecipes.com/.


Better get busy: Christmas is just around the corner, and there is baking to be done.


I triple-dog-dare ya!


Sugar Cookie Cutouts


• Ingredients


1 cup (1/2 pound) butter, at room temperature


2/3 cup sugar


1 large egg


1 teaspoon vanilla


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1/4 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until blended, then beat on high speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.


Add flour and salt; beat on low speed until combined, then on medium speed until well-blended. Divide dough into three equal portions.


Place each portion between sheets of floured plastic wrap. Press evenly into a disk about 1/4-inch thick. Stack disks on a baking sheet and chill until dough is firm, at least 15 minutes, or up to 2 days.


Working with one portion of dough at a time (keep remaining chilled), peel off plastic wrap and set disk on a floured board. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough about 1/8-inch thick. With floured cookie cutters (2 to 4 inches wide), cut out cookies, placing cutters as close together as possible. Transfer to baking parchment-lined or bare baking sheets (don’t butter sheets), placing cookies about 1 inch apart. Gather up dough scraps and press together into a ball. If dough is still cold, roll and cut out remaining cookies. If dough is soft and sticky, press scraps into a ball and chill before rolling out.


Bake cookies in a 350-degree oven (325 degrees for convection) until golden around edges, 7 to 9 minutes. If baking more than one sheet at a time in one oven, switch positions halfway through baking. Slide parchment with cookies off sheets and onto racks or a counter to cool, then remove from parchment. Or cool on sheets about 1 minute, then, with a wide spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. If not using baking parchment, wipe off baking sheets after each batch. Cool sheets before filling with more cookies.


Decorate with Royal Icing (recipe below). Let cookies stand until icing is firm, 30 to 45 minutes. Store iced cookies airtight up to 3 days.


Royal Icing


• Ingredients


4 cups powdered sugar (1 pound)


3 tablespoons meringue powder


6 tablespoons water


Food coloring


In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar, water and meringue powder. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat until evenly moistened, then beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. If desired, divide icing into two or three portions and tint each a different color, beating in enough food coloring for desired shade.



While we’re on the subject of cookies, another book brimming with tasty recipes for baked goods recently crossed my desk.


“The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking Almanac” is the latest in the Almanac cookbook series and contains baking tips, advice and, of course, recipes, from Ken Haedrich.


Here’s one of the cookie-baking tips: Use baking sheets that are heavy and do not have a dark finish. A dark finish will absorb more heat in the oven and contribute to overbrowning.


For more great tips, pick up the cookbook. It’s widely available at bookstores and wherever magazines are sold. Priced under $10, it makes a great stocking stuffer for all the cooking aficionados on your list.


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