Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Try this sugar cookie!

I am a sucker for a good ,soft, yummy sugar cookie!  After all, if you are going to go to the trouble of making them, they BETTER be good, right?!  Well, leave it to Martha to make a really good cookie!  We made these last year and they were a hit!
4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for working
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for decorating (optional)
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Royal Icing, and desired decorations, such as colored sugars
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

5 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add sugar, eggs, and lemon zest and process until mixture resembles wet sand.

Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface; knead several times until dough comes together. Divide into 3 portions; flatten each into a disk. Roll each disk to an 1/8-inch thickness between sheets of parchment. Stack dough (still in parchment) on a baking sheet; refrigerate 20 minutes. (To store, wrap in plastic and freeze on sheet, up to 2 weeks. Thaw until pliable before using.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with racks in middle and lower thirds. Working with 1 dough sheet at a time, peel off parchment (save for baking). With lightly floured cutters, cut dough into desired shapes and arrange, 1 inch apart, on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets (reroll scraps, if desired). Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Bake until cookies are set but still pale, 7 to 9 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Using a spoon, frost cookies with icing; decorate with sugar, if desired.

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