Sugar cookies are a holiday tradition in my family. I’ve frosted them many times, but I have never made them start to finish before. But I got the recipe from my mom, and decided to give it a go. I made a batch of dough and let it chill for a couple hours in the fridge.
Then I assessed my cookie cutter options:
Traditional cookie shapes for my family would be trees, bells, or stars. I did not have any of these shapes. (I could have sworn I had more cookie cutters than this, but I can’t find them.) I decided to go with the cookie cutter on the right. For the purposes of this exercise, please imagine that this is a snowflake shape as opposed to an amoeba. (Unless amoebae have special holiday significance for you, in which case it is definitely a squishy shaped single cell organism.)
I spread flour on the counter, my rolling pin, and the edges of the cookie cutter, and then put about a third of the dough down in a big lump and proceeded to roll it flat. I worked slowly and carefully to get an even layer of dough 1/8 inch thick. In the mean time, the dough warmed up, and bonded with the counter. I was able to pry some of the cookies off the counter without deforming them too badly, so I put those on a cookie sheet and baked them. I collected much of the rest of the dough into a small bowl and put it into the fridge to chill again so I could roll it out with another batch. I cleaned the remaining goo off the counter, reapplied flour, and tried again. This time I worked faster, touched the dough as little as possible with my hands, and used a more generous amount of flour. Sticking was drastically reduced, and the rest of the cookies were cut and baked without incident.
Finally I was in familiar territory. I have frosted many many sugar cookies. I decided that snowflakes would be nice with white frosting and blue sprinkles. So I made the frosting (powdered sugar, water, vanilla, salt). Sadly, the resulting frosting wasn’t white. The vanilla made it a pale tan color. So I added a drop of blue food coloring. The resulting cookies were rather bluer than I wanted, but food coloring frosting is the traditional look for these particular cookies anyway (with the colors usually being red and green):
I ran out of frosting about halfway through, and decided to try something different for the second batch — almond extract. Unlike vanilla extract, almond extract is clear, and so the resulting frosting was white. For this second batch, I also dispensed with the sprinkles, because they were dying my fingers blue (also, they were rather tricky to get out of the sprinkle jar because of the poorly designed lid):
These experimental almond-frosted cookies underwent rigorous taste-testing, and have been deemed acceptable by two anonymous tasters.