Featured Recipe

The holidays are here and we are busy in "Santa's kitchen" baking cookies and treats to enjoy this season. This recipe is a classic sugar cookie that is rolled and cut out with cookie cutters in your favorite shapes and decorated with glaze icing. The bonus on this dough is it can be made ahead and used as needed so your cookies are fresh and delicious. Another tip to help cookies stay soft for a few days after baking, store a few sugar cubes or a piece of bread in the airtight container with finished cookies at room temp. Have fun baking!

Fool proof Holiday Sugar Cookies, makes 3 dozen
From Cooks Illustrated, Nov & Dec 2011
NOTE: Wrapped disks can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month. If frozen, let thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before using.

2 1/2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c superfine sugar
1/4 tsp salt
16 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into 16 1/2" pieces and softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP cream cheese, softened

1. In bowl of stand up mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter one piece a t a time; continue mixing until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 min longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.

2. Remove bowl from mixer, knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form a large, cohesive mass. Turn dough out on countertop. Divide in half, pat into two 4 " disks, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, but malleable, about 30 sec.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle; heat to 375. Roll out 1 disk to even 1/8 " thickness. Place rolled dough on baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 10 min. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.

4. Working with the first portion of rolled dough, cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter(s) and place shapes on parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 min, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Repeat with second portion of rolled dough. Cool cookies on wire rack to room temp.

White Glaze - Makes 1 c
To color, stir drops of food coloring into glaze until it reaches desired shade. For citrus glaze, substitute orange, lemon or lim juice for the milk. You can also flavor with 1/2 tsp vanilla, almond or peppermint extract.

2 c confectioner's sugar
3 TBSP milk
2 TBSP cream cheese, softened

Whisk all together until smooth. Spread on cooled cookies. Let glaze dry at least 30 min before serving. May add decorations to glazed cookies while glaze is still soft.